During congressional testimony Tuesday, coronavirus czar Anthony Fauci admitted that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which he oversees, had helped fund a “modest collaboration” with scientists at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.
That included $600,000 funneled through the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance for a study on the transmission of bat coronaviruses to humans, the New York Post reported.
However, Fauci steadfastly denied that US tax dollars had contributed to controversial “gain of function” research that involves the manipulation of naturally occurring viruses into more deadly and contagious strains.
“That categorically was not done,” Fauci claimed.
The longtime NIAID director—who became a left-wing folk hero for undermining former president Donald Trump over many statements that have since been validated—was a staunch defender of gain-of-function research earlier in his career, despite its inherent risks.
Fauci reportedly engaged in controversial research methods while pursuing treatments for the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS, and he hoped for more medical breakthroughs that might lead to lucrative vaccine patents.
“Information gained through biomedical research … provides a critical foundation for generating appropriate countermeasures,” he wrote in a 2011 Washington Post op-ed defending his high-stakes approach.
Although gain-of-function viral manipulation offers the ability to study possible human pandemics in a controlled environment, the downsides now seem obvious in hindsight.
In addition to accidental outbreaks—such as the COVID-19 leak that a growing number of experts now argue occurred at the Wuhan lab—the research can also be used to create biological weapons, including those that could target specific genetic traits like ethnicity.
Those concerns led the Obama administration, after weathering deadly outbreaks of both the SARS and Ebola viruses, to declare a moratorium on funding gain-of-function research that lasted until 2019.
However, some speculate that there may have been exceptions made at the Wuhan lab since the “collaboration” offered ways to keep tabs on potential national-security threats that the tight-lipped Chinese Communist Party might be pursuing.
Regardless of whether the public disclosure of such funding would create a scandal by exposing Fauci’s culpability in the COVID pandemic, it most certainly would come with potential legal repercussions.
Prior to Tuesday’s testimony, Fauci already had explicitly denied funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab during a May 11 Senate appearance.
While admitting he had no clue what China may have been doing on its own, he rebuffed the suggestion from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that NIAID had financially supported the effort.
“Sen. Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect,” Fauci said.
That, along with Fauci’s testimony this week before the House and Senate appropriations committees, could lead to contempt of Congress charges if it were proven that he lied.
But during an interview for Real America’s Voice’s The Water Cooler, Paul accused Fauci of doing precisely that.
“Absolutely, he lied to the America people,” Paul said. “There was gain of function research going on.”
He cited a paper by Wuhan researcher Shi Zhengli that expressly thanked Fauci and the NIAID for their support.
“It’s listed at the end of the paper,” Paul said. “This paper was fined by NIAID research and it lists a 10-digit number that identifies the research money she got from from the United States.”
Paul, a medical doctor by trade, noted that the research involved a virus that was “15 times more deadly than COVID.”
Amid the torrent of shocking developments, the Wuhan Institute reportedly was caught trying to delete files that linked Fauci to the funding of the research, according to the NOQ Report.
While the mainstream media appeared ready to embrace the lab-leak theory that it had long sought to suppress and discredit, federal officials still seemed reluctant to acknowledge it.
The Biden administration expressed support for an investigation by the corrupt World Health Organization, but all indications are that the WHO would continue carrying water for Chinese propagandists.
Meanwhile, new reports indicated that Biden had shut down a State Department probe into the Wuhan leak that was initiated during the Trump administration.
On Wednesday, Fauci returned to congress to testify before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, leading several Republican senators to drill down for more admissions.
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., grilled him as to whether China was a reliable source when it came to seeking answers.
“I cannot guarantee that a grantee has not lied to us because you never know,” Fauci admitted when asked whether it was possible that the Wuhan researchers might lie about their work.
Kennedy followed up by colorfully speculating that the WHO might also be the wrong authority to turn to for accountability.
“Can we agree that if you took President Xi Jinping and turned him upside down and shook him, the World Health Organization would fall out of his pocket?” he asked.
“I don’t think I can answer that question, sir,” Fauci replied. “I’m sorry.”
Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., said the spotty responses meant that Congress may need to take matters into its own hands.
He recently partnered with Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., to sponsor the COVID-19 Origin Act of 2021. On Wednesday, they introduced the bill, calling on the Biden administration to declassify any information it had on the Wuhan lab’s role in the pandemic.
“When you got somebody like Dr. Fauci that moves goalposts from one end zone to the other and then back again, and wherever it needs to kind of plop down, when you hear the head of the WHO, when you hear the Biden administration now saying that there needs to be an investigation,” Braun told Just the News‘s John Solomon.
“Of course, they’re still saying WHO needs to do it itself,” he continued. “That’s like the fox in the henhouse metaphor. So something is happening. And that’s why, with our bill out there, it’s now very pertinent.”
SENATE: The Senate chamber erupts into cheers after an amendment proposed by @RandPaul that bans US funding of gain-of-function research in China is passed by unanimous voice vote pic.twitter.com/8fQ6hAWpuW
— Forbes (@Forbes) May 25, 2021