(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) Chief Presidential Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci said the Chinese government has “probably” hidden information about COVID-19’s origins, after calling unofficial theories about its origin “conspiracies,” National File reported.
In an interview with Atlantic editor Ross Andersen, Fauci said he believes in “keeping a completely open mind” about how the virus first appeared in Wuhan, China, in 2019.
He granted that the Chinese government has an incentive to withhold crucial information about the virus to prevent international blowback.
“The fact is, as a society, when something occurs that looks like — even if it’s naturally coming out of China — they will be secretive about it,” Fauci said. “Because of this feeling that they’re gonna get blamed for something.
Fauci previously dismissed all theories about COVID-19 that strayed an inch from the official narrative.
“The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumors and misinformation around its origins,” he wrote in a letter in 2020. “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin … Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear.”
The official state-sponsored theory claims that COVID-19 jumped naturally from an animal to a human being at a wet market.
Research since then has given more credibility to the theory that the Chinese government, with monetary and scientific assistance from the US federal government and non-profit groups, created the bug through gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
National Institutes of Health’s principal deputy director Lawrence Tabak wrote in a letter that the NIH, under Fauci’s leadership, funded bat coronavirus gain-of-function research from 2018-2019.
The research sough to determine if various spike proteins could attach to a bat coronavirus, WIV1, so that the new virus could bind with ACE2 receptors, which both bats and humans possess. SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, binds to the ACE2 receptor.
Fauci’s NIH funded bat coronavirus research from 2014 to 2020 to the total sum of $3,748,715, with more than $600,000 going to the Wuhan lab from which the virus likely emerged.