sen. Rand Paul continued his blunder about Dr. Anthony Fauci in the wake of Fauci’s email dump, told Fox that Fauci knew the US was funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan, even though he continues to deny it.
The Kentucky Republican told Fox Thursday night that Fauci’s emails “telled me early on that he was very concerned” before the pandemic even started.
“There is a disturbing picture. He gets an email or he gets a notification of what’s happening in Wuhan and immediately sends something to his assistant saying, “We need to meet immediately.” And the subject line says job gain research in Wuhan.’
Paul refers to a February 1, 2020 email exchange between Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and chief NIAID director Dr. Hugh Auchincloss, which was obtained and published by Buzzfeed News along with over 3,200 other emails.
sen. Rand Paul (right) was interviewed on Fox Thursday night
dr. Anthony Fauci arrives for a Senate committee hearing to discuss the ongoing federal response to COVID-19 on May 11, 2021, when Paul sparred with Fauci over the Wuhan lab leak
Controversial gain-of-function research increases the infectivity of pathogens and makes them more deadly
Functional gain is controversial research in which the infectivity and lethality of a pathogen is increased.
PROS SAY: It will help researchers spot human health fines and allow them to devise ways to tackle a new virus.
Fauci has advocated gain-of-function research in the past, including a 2011 op-ed he co-authored promoting it as a means of studying flu viruses.
CRITICS SAY: It’s a risky business that puts people’s lives at risk.
In 2014, the US government halted new funding of gain-of-function research on flu, MERS and SARS to allay concerns about risks and benefits.
The break was supported by more than 300 scientists, called the Cambridge Working Group.
In December 2017, the US government lifted the pause and announced a new framework called Potential Pandemic Pathogen Care and Oversight to evaluate whether funding should be provided.
Research into “enhanced potential pandemic pathogens” would be allowed if it was “essential to protecting global health and safety.”
The review process is highly classified and reviewer names or details of the experiments are not released.
Auchincloss wrote to Fauci to discuss a paper Fauci sent him as if wondering if the National Institute of Health (NIH) is funding grants gain-of-function research related to coronaviruses.
In the email to Fauci, Auchincloss said, “The document you sent me states that the experiments were conducted before the function break, but have since been reviewed and approved by the NIH.”
He also noted that a colleague would “try to establish whether we have distant ties to this work abroad.”
The NIH awarded a $3.7 million grant to EcoHealth Alliance, based in the United States, to study the risk of coronaviruses emerging from bats in 2014. EcoHealth Alliance, in turn, distributed nearly $600,000 of that funding to its collaborator, the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The senator also shot the controversial medical adviser on Twitter on Thursday after Amazon and Barnes & Noble took his book off their sites because it wasn’t due to be released until November: “Oh, I don’t know. I think they should publish it. I like science fiction.’
Paul’s interview came after Fauci dismissed recent revelations that he had been warned that COVID-19 may have been “developed” and said the emails could be easily misunderstood.
During an interview on Wednesday in the Donlon report, Fauci said of the emails: “The only problem is that they are really ripe to be taken out of context where someone can cut out a sentence in an email without the other emails, saying “based on an email from Dr. Fauci he said so-and-so “where you don’t really have the full context.”
Fauci added that the Wuhan lab is “a very large lab worth hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars.”
“The grant we’re talking about was $600,000 over five years for an average of about $125,000 to $140,000 a year,” he said.
Fauci also said of Donlon that he “cannot guarantee everything that happens in the Wuhan lab.”
Paul has been on Fox twice since a large number of emails from Fauci — dating from January to June 2020 — were obtained and published by Buzzfeed on Tuesday.
Within hours of publication, Paul tweeted “#firefauci” and other Republicans, such as Majorie Greene Taylor, followed suit.
Until recently, the Wuhan lab leak was a fringe theory at best, and it was mostly laughed off by many scientists. The general consensus on the origin of COVID-19 was that it jumped from a bat to a human in the Wuhan market.
Despite the recent investigation, Fauci continues to say this is what he thinks happened.
During Senate committee hearings in early May, Paul floundered with Fauci about the two origin theories, saying the lab leak is a real possibility that is not being acknowledged.
Rather than investigating the cause of COVID-19, “government authorities — out of self-interest in further research into job gains — say there’s nothing to see here,” Paul said at the May 11 hearing.
“To get to the truth, the US government has to admit that the Wuhan Virology Institute was experimenting to increase the ability of the coronavirus to infect humans,” he said.
The lab leak theory is now one that President Joe Biden wants to investigate.
Last week, Biden ordered a 90-day review to explore the possibility, and in recent months several high-profile public health experts have come out who say they believe COVID-19 started that way.
British intelligence also reportedly recently reviewed the theory, upgrading its likelihood from “remote” to “feasible.”