Coronavirus czar Dr. Anthony Fauci defended funding China’s virus research lab and claimed it would have been “negligent” not to support its research, even though several experts believe the Wuhan lab was conducting dangerous experiments that may have produced COVID-19.
When asked why the National Institutes of Health sent grant money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology through a third party organization, Fauci claimed the work Wuhan’s scientists were doing was necessary and “highly regarded.”
“If you go back to when this research really started and look at the scientific rationale for it, it was a peer-reviewed proposal…and given a very high rating for the importance of why it should be done,” he told CNN.
“It was very regulated. It was reviewed. It was given progress reports. It was published in the open literature,” Fauci continued. “So, I think if you look at the ultimate back rationale, why that was started, it was almost as if you didn’t pursue that research, you would be negligent because we were trying to find out how to prevent this from happening again.”
However, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has argued that the Wuhan lab’s research was not being regulated, and that it was much more dangerous than Fauci has said.
He cited a 2017 scientific paper during a congressional hearing last week that proved Dr. Shi Zhengling, the head researcher at the WIV, was building new viruses to see how they would react with human cells.
Fauci claimed this research did not qualify as “gain-of-function,” which, if it did, would mean that Fauci lied under oath in May when he denied that the NIH had ever funded “gain-of-function” research in Wuhan.
“I have never lied before the Congress, and I do not retract that statement,” Fauci said to Paul. “This paper that you are referring to was judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain-of-function.”
Other critics have pointed out that Wuhan’s lab should not have been trusted given its connection to the Chinese Communist Party.
Several reports have confirmed that Wuhan’s scientists worked closely with the Chinese military since at least 2017.