(John Ransom, Headline USA) New emails obtained by a Republican oversight committee show that UK and US scientists thought that COVID-19 could have been released from a lab in Wuhan, China, despite their attempts to downplay the possibility to protect China’s international relations, according to the Telegraph.
“On February 2, 2020, Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust sent an email that said ‘a likely explanation’ was that COVID had rapidly evolved from a Sars-like virus inside human tissue in a low-security lab,” the Telegraph reported.
We’ve released never before seen emails showing Dr. Fauci may have concealed information about #COVID19 originating from the Wuhan lab & intentionally downplayed the lab leak theory. @RepJamesComer & @Jim_Jordan want Fauci under oath. Time for answers. 1/2? pic.twitter.com/p8aIBJ3nom
— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) January 11, 2022
The email recipients included Dr. Francis Collins, the then-Director of the National institute of Health and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), along with a host of other top scientists.
Several scientists on the email chain suggested that the possibility the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan was at least 50:50, perhaps higher.
Collins’ major concern about the Wuhan lab hypothesis was that it could damage “international harmony” according to the Telegraph.
Fauci, however, was likely more concerned about trying to cover-up the fact that the NIAID had funded some of the research at the Wuhan lab, which he has repeatedly denied to Congress.
One scientist said that it was suggested during the original teleconference that he not mention the Wuhan lab leak at all. That call was the topic of the emails that were released by the GOP.
“The major feedback we got from the Feb 1 teleconference was: 1. Don’t try to write a paper at all — it’s unnecessary or 2. If you do write it don’t mention a lab origin as that will just add fuel to the conspiracists,” Robert Garry, a professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Tulane, wrote to the Intercept’s inquiries about the teleconference and emails.
“I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature,” Garry said about the virus according to the original emails, bolstering the Wuhan lab leak hypothesis.
Garry later helped draft a paper for Nature Medicine that was used to “debunk” the now-revived lab leak hypothesis, said the Intercept.
While Garry later said that Collins and Fauci never told him to not mention the Wuhan lab as a hypothesis for the origins of the virus, Collins and Fauci were nevertheless relieved by the article in Nature Medicine.
“Wondering if there is something NIH can do to help put down this very destructive conspiracy,” Collins asked Fauci about the lab leak hypothesis after the publication of the Nature piece, said the Intercept.
“I would not do anything about this right now,” Fauci replied. “It is a shiny object that will go away in times.”