- Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted that there’s no way to know if Chinese scientists lied and conducted what are called ‘gain of function’ experiments on coronaviruses
- ‘There’s no way of guaranteeing that,’ Fauci said Wednesday at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, answering Republican Sen. John Kennedy
- He added that in the U.S. government’s experience with grantees, including Chinese grantees, ‘they are very competent, trustworthy scientists’
- Gain of function experiments would make a coronavirus more contagious or deadly
- The White House announced Wednesday that U.S. intelligence agencies could not determine for certain the origin of COVID-19
- That left the door open to speculation that COVID-19 escaped from the Wuhan Institute and U.S. tax dollars could have been used to make it more deadly
- Kennedy floated whether Wuhan lab scientists could have been ‘influenced by the Communist Party of China’
- ‘I don’t have enough insight into the Communist Party in China to know the interactions between them and the scientists, sir,’ Fauci said
PUBLISHED: 08:56 AEST, 27 May 2021 | UPDATED: 12:44 AEST, 27 May 2021
Dr Anthony Fauci admitted that there is no way to know if Chinese scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology lied and conducted what are called ‘gain of function’ experiments on bat coronaviruses using U.S. tax dollars.
‘There’s no way of guaranteeing that,’ Fauci said Wednesday at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, responding to a question from Republican Senator John Kennedy.
‘But in our experience with grantees, including Chinese grantees, which we have had interactions with for a very long period of time – they are very competent, trustworthy scientists.’
‘Gain of function’ experiments are conducted to make viruses more contagious or deadly. +23
- Dr. Anthony Fauci said there’s no way to know if Chinese scientists lied about conducting ‘gain of function’ experiments in the Wuhan lab during Senate testimony on Wednesday
There continues to be speculation that COVID-19 could have escaped from a lab, with the White House releasing a statement Wednesday saying U.S. intelligence agencies couldn’t state for certain the origin of that coronavirus.
The White House is asking the intelligence agencies to dig in, while pressuring the World Health Organization to get the underlying data from China.
Biden on Wednesday defended his administration’s approach and said the intelligence agents were divided on the two possible scenarios: laboratory leak or natural transfer in the wild.
‘I have now asked the intelligence community to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion, and to report back to me in 90 days,’ said Biden.
‘As part of that report, I have asked for areas of further inquiry that may be required, including specific questions for China.’
President Biden said the inability of CDC inspectors to access key sites in China hampered early investigations as he asked the intelligence community to redouble efforts in investigating how COVID-19 emerged
He also directed national laboratories to assist with the investigation.
‘The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence,’ he said.
But he also said a final answer may never be found given the way that China refused to cooperate in the early days of an outbreak which has gone on to kill more than five million people around the world.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health had given the Wuhan lab a $600,000 grant to do studies on coronaviruses.
Fauci testified that scientists in Wuhan were not supposed to be doing gain of function experiments and that he had seen the results of the studies that had been conducted and none were of this variety.
But Kennedy suggested those at the Wuhan lab could have used U.S. taxpayer money on secret experiments.
‘Dr Fauci, I believe you have testified that you didn’t give any money to the lab to conduct gain of function research,’ Kennedy asked.
‘That is correct,’ Fauci replied.
‘How did you know they didn’t lie to you?’ Kennedy asked.
‘Excuse me, sir?’ Fauci replied, looking surprised.
He then told Kennedy that the work in Wuhan, funded by the U.S., was publicly available to scientists.
‘We have seen the results of the research that were done and that were published. And the studies are public, and on public databases now.
‘None of that was gain of function,’ Fauci said.
Kennedy then asked whether Fauci was certain that the Chinese had not conducted secret experiments into gain of function, using the U.S. money, and then not published the results.
‘There is no way of guaranteeing that, but in our experience of grantees, including Chinese grantees, none of them have done,’ Fauci said.
‘So you don’t think the Chinese would lie to you?’ Kennedy asked.
‘The Chinese are a very broad group,’ Fauci replied.
‘I know the scientists we dealt with have been trustworthy.’
Asked whether he thought it was possible the Chinese scientists were given orders by the Communist Party, Fauci said he was not enough of an expert in the party to answer.
Kennedy then asked why the U.S. was funding research in China in coronaviruses.+23
Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana asked Fauci about why the U.S. was funding experiments in the Wuhan lab and whether U.S. tax dollars could have been used to make COVID-19
‘That’s a very good question and thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain,’ Fauci said.
‘SARS-CoV-1 started in China, in Guandong province, and it went from a bat to a civet cat to a human.’
Kennedy cut him off and demanded a brief answer.
Fauci replied: ‘Clearly the bats that have the coronaviruses are in China. They are not in Fairfax County, Virginia, or in New York.
‘That’s where the bats are.’
Kennedy summarized: ‘You didn’t give money to the Wuhan laboratory for gain of function research. We’ve seen the results of the studies they did.
‘Including any private studies?’
Fauci replied: ‘I’m not sure what you’re getting at, sir.
‘We generally always trust the grantee to do what they say they will do.’
Kennedy asked: ‘Have you ever had a grantee lie to you?’
‘I can’t guarantee a grantee hasn’t lied to us – we never know,’ Fauci replied.
The Louisiana senator then asked Fauci whether he agreed that, ‘if you took President Xi Jinping, turned him upside down and shook him, the World Health Organization would fall out his pocket.’
Fauci, laughing, replied: ‘I don’t think I can answer that question sir, I’m sorry. I have no way of knowing the influence of the president of China on the WHO.’
Kennedy then asked why Fauci had decided to ‘spike’ a Trump administration investigation into the Wuhan lab. On Tuesday night CNN reported that a team within the State Department, working for Mike Pompeo, looked into the lab from the fall until around February or March, when the Biden administration decided their research was flawed and ended the investigation.
‘Sir, we did not spike anything from the prior administration,’ said Fauci.
‘I’m not sure what you mean by spike, but we have no influence.
‘That has nothing to do with the National Institutes of Health.’
Lindsey Graham, Republican senator for South Carolina, questioned the timeline in which it would be determined the virus came from a lab if an intermediate host is not found, and who should be leading that investigation.
Fauci said it is hard to provide a timeline since they still have not found the intermediate host for Ebola, which they are confident did not originate from a lab.
He added that he would like the WHO to continue its probe.
‘The WHO did what they’re referring to now as phase one of an investigation, which they felt was not completely adequate.
‘As you know, you’ve heard me and Dr. Collins and others in the administration calling for a continuation of the investigation,’ Fauci said, referring to Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio raised concerns about China’s ‘history of lab accident,’ adding that the ‘outbreak happened in a city that happened to be the home, coincidentally, of a lab which we know is involved in extensive research and what they do is they take this naturally occurring virus, and they manipulate it, and they change it to make it infectious to humans.’
He questioned why Fauci previously tamped down speculation that the virus could have been artificially manufactured.
‘I have always said that the high likelihood is that this is a natural occurrence,’ Fauci replied.
‘I didn’t dismiss anything, I just said it’s a high likelihood that this is a natural occurrence, from the environment of an animal reservoir that we have not yet identified.
‘Well, I still maintain that, but as I just mentioned to the response to other questions that since you don’t know 100 per cent about that because no one knows, including me, 100 per cent what the origin is, is the reason why we’re in favor of further investigation.’
Earlier, Lindsey Graham has said ‘you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes’ to conclude that COVID-19 escaped from the Wuhan laboratory, calling for international sanctions against China for blocking a full inquiry. +23
Graham on Wednesday said you did not need to be Sherlock Holmes to believe ‘lab leak’ theoryhttps://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/modules/2021/05/wuhanlab.html
‘You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure this out if the first cases of COVID-19 occurred in November with lab workers. Doesn’t that make it more likely than not that the source of the virus was in the lab, not a wet market?’ said Graham, speaking on Fox News on Wednesday.
‘So, I think it’s becoming increasingly clear we haven’t found an animal yet that is a good host for the virus.
‘If the first cases involve lab workers and move on is most likely, they got it in the lab.’
Graham spoke as some within the Republican Party are accusing Fauci of deliberately covering up what was known about the origins of the virus.
Senator Rand Paul, who has publicly sparred with Fauci twice in Senate hearings about the pandemic, said on Wednesday he believes Fauci committed perjury and should be fired for lying to the American people about giving funding to the Wuhan Virology Institute.
His GOP colleague Tom Cotton has also said Fauci needs to ‘come clean’ about whether US taxpayer money was used to fund ‘gain of function research’, which involves modifying a virus to make it more infectious among humans.
Scores of Republicans have called for Fauci to be fired or resign after his u-turns on COVID and its origins.
President Biden has now called for the intelligence services to redouble their efforts in investigating the two scenarios that it either was transmitted between humans and animals or was leaked from the lab.+23
Republican Senator Rand Paul believes Dr Fauci committed perjury and should be fired for lying to the American people about giving funding to the Wuhan Virology Institute
‘Absolutely, he lied to the American people,’ Paul told Newsmax on Tuesday night when asked if Fauci lied during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing earlier this month.
He was referring to the gain of functions research conducted by Dr. Shi Zhengli in the lab at the center of theories that COVID came from a leak.
There are questions over whether it was funded directly by the National Institutes of Health from a US taxpayer-funded $600,000 grant.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton has also said Fauci needs to ‘come clean’ about whether US taxpayer money was used to fund ‘gain of function research’, which involves modifying a virus to make it more infectious among humans
On May 12, Paul asked Fauci during a Senate hearing if he still supported NIH funding of the lab in Wuhan.
‘Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely, entirely, and completely incorrect,’ a frustrated Fauci responded.
‘The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.’
Paul said: ‘In her paper, she [Dr. Zhengli] actually thanked Dr. Fauci and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is a part of National Institutes of Health (NIH) that Dr. Fauci runs.
‘It’s listed at the end of the paper. This paper was fined by NIAID research and it lists a ten digit number that identifies the research money she got from from the United States.
‘Was it gain of function?’
Arkansas Senator Cotton told Fox News: ‘I hope Tony Fauci gives some straight answers today for once.’
‘They need to come clean with the American people, they need to stop playing word games,’ Cotton continued.
‘They need to explain why they funded that research apparently in violation of at least the spirit, if not the letter, of an Obama White House directive.
House Rep. Warren Davidson, a Republican from Ohio, on Tuesday proposed the ‘FIRED Act’ – whose acronym stands for ‘Fauci Incompetence Requires Early Dismissal.’
‘Dr. Fauci is at odds with the [Centers for Disease Control],’ Davidson told Fox News.
‘He has repeatedly put political science ahead of the science on COVID-19.’
On Tuesday, Fauci defended the United States’ ‘modest’ and ‘very respectable’ funding of the Wuhan laboratory – which is now at the center of speculation as a possible source of the COVID-19 virus.
Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), appeared before a Congressional budget committee on Tuesday.
He defended allocating $600,000 to a group called EcoHealth Alliance, which then paid the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study the risk that bat coronaviruses could infect humans.
Under the terms of the funding, the money could not be spend on ‘gain of function’ research – a controversial practice which explores how viruses mutate and become more transmissible or more dangerous.
Fauci said the research was essential, pointing out that the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s was eventually traced back to bats.
‘I would have been almost a dereliction of our duty if we didn’t study this, and the only way you can study these things is you’ve got to go where the action is,’ he said.
‘You don’t want to study bats in Fairfax County, Virginia, to find out what the animal-human interface is that might lead to a jumping of species.
‘So we had a modest collaboration with very respectable Chinese scientists who were world experts on coronavirus, and we did that through a sub-grant from a larger grant to EcoHealth.’
Fauci added: ‘The larger grant was about $600,000 over a period of five years. So it was a modest amount. The purpose of it was to study the animal-human interface, to do surveillance and to determine if these bat viruses were even capable of’ infecting humans.
Francis Collins, the director of NIH, had said earlier in the hearing that the American taxpayer money that went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology was not approved to conduct gain of function research.
Daily Mail has been asking if the virus stemmed from a Wuhan lab since April 2020
The Daily Mail has consistently questioned the consensus that COVID-19 was transmitted from humans to animals.
Our reporters have dug into the details and challenged the assumptions about how the pandemic originated. +23
APRIL 4, 2020:
Ministers fear that the coronavirus pandemic might have been caused by a leak from a Chinese laboratory, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Senior Government sources say that while ‘the balance of scientific advice’ is still that the deadly virus was first transmitted to humans from a live animal market in Wuhan, a leak from a laboratory in the Chinese city is ‘no longer being discounted’.
One member of Cobra, the emergency committee led by Boris Johnson, said last night that while the latest intelligence did not dispute the virus was ‘zoonotic’ – originating in animals – it did not rule out that the virus first spread to humans after leaking from a Wuhan laboratory.
APRIL 15, 2020:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has demanded that China ‘come clean’ following reports that coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory, not as a bioweapon, but as part of bungling experiments to prove that Chinese scientists were superior to Americans in identifying emerging virus threats.
It comes after President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the U.S. is trying to determine whether the coronavirus first crossed to humans accidentally during experiments with bats at the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab.
After word of the outbreak finally became public, Chinese leaders were quick to blame Wuhan’s ‘wet market’ where wild animals — though not bats — are sold for consumption, leading one source to tell Fox News the debacle is the ‘costliest government coverup of all time.’+23
MAY 2, 2020:
Wuhan virus lab ‘cover-up’: Startling photos of scientists wearing little protection as they handle deadly bat samples vanish from website of Chinese institute at the centre of global suspicion over pandemic
Pictures which appear to show slack safety standards at the Chinese laboratory at the centre of international suspicion over Covid-19 have been systematically deleted from its website – as Donald Trump continues to ramp up the pressure on Beijing over its potential role in the outbreak.
During the past month, Wuhan’s Institute of Virology has removed photographs of scientists working in its laboratories and edited out references to visits by US diplomats who subsequently raised the alarm about the laboratory’s work on bats.
US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he had seen intelligence that gave him a ‘high degree of confidence’ that the global crisis had its origins in the institute – a month after The Mail on Sunday first revealed that British Cabinet Ministers had received classified briefings raising the possibility of a leak from the institute.
MAY 30, 2020:
China has become used to public confessions on television. But this time the words came from one of the nation’s top officials and had seismic global implications.
‘At first, we assumed the seafood market might have the virus, but now the market is more like a victim,’ said Gao Fu, director of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gao’s initial analysis had made sense after previous outbreaks of zoonotic viruses (diseases that jump from animals to humans). Yet suspicion grew over the Chinese government’s failure to share data from animals sampled in the market following its early cover-ups.
JANUARY 2, 2021:
Matthew Pottinger, who is President Donald Trump‘s respected Deputy National Security Adviser, told politicians from around the world that even China’s leaders now openly admit their previous claims that the virus originated in a Wuhan market are false.
Mr Pottinger said that the latest intelligence points to the virus leaking from the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology, 11 miles from the market, saying: ‘There is a growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source of the virus.’
JANUARY 9, 2021:
The Chinese government is facing fresh accusations of a cover-up after officials deleted crucial online data about the laboratory suspected of being the source of Covid-19.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that hundreds of pages of information relating to studies carried out by the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology have been wiped.
Details of more than 300 studies, including many investigating diseases that pass from animals to humans, published online by the state-run National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) are no longer available.
APRIL 24, 2021:
Scientists studying bat diseases at China‘s maximum-security laboratory in Wuhan were engaged in a massive project to investigate animal viruses alongside leading military officials – despite their denials of any such links.
Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal that a nationwide scheme, directed by a leading state body, was launched nine years ago to discover new viruses and detect the ‘dark matter’ of biology involved in spreading diseases.ADVERTISEMENT
US liberal media’s Covid U-turn: A year after TRASHING theory that COVID originated from a Wuhan lab because Trump supported the suggestion – America’s woke mainstream news outlets suddenly start asking if it’s true!
The liberal media have finally conceded that COVID-19 may have originated in a Wuhan laboratory – after a year spent ridiculing the suggestion.
The first fatality from COVID-19 was reported by Chinese state media on January 11, 2020, when a 61-year-old man who was a regular customer at a market in Wuhan died. The first confirmed case in the United States was 10 days later, when a man returned to Washington state from Wuhan.
Within a week, on January 26, 2020, the first article blaming the Wuhan Institute of Virology for the outbreak was published, in The Washington Times. Yet most mainstream media disputed the claims, dismissing them outright or even decrying them as racist.
When Donald Trump, on May 1, 2020, said he had ‘a high degree of confidence’ that the virus escaped from a lab, the New York Times, CNN, and NPR were quick to mock his comments.
CNN, which by the end of the Trump administration was brazen in its hostility to the president and his advisors, was almost gleeful in its mockery of the idea that the virus could have come from a laboratory.
The Washington Post, New York Times, and NPR were equally dismissive of suggestions that the virus could have come from a laboratory.+23
The Washington Post published a fact checker piece on May 25 saying the theory had ‘suddenly’ become credible after it was repeatedly brought up. It came after a year of naysaying from the liberal media who never accepted that it might be true
There is outrage over the fact that for the last year, the theory has been widely discredited by the media in America when it may explain the entire pandemic
Some outlets, such as the Huffington Post, even branded any suggestion the virus could have stemmed from a lab as a ‘toxic conspiracy theory.’
Few were able to suggest that COVID-19 could have stemmed from a research facility without backlash but that didn’t stop some media, including the Daily Mail, from questioning the narrative.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson was also clear in demanding an investigation into whether it could have escaped from the lab.
Finally, in the past few months, came the first signs that opinion was beginning to change.
In January, a World Health Organization (WHO) report only served to raise more questions after Beijing strictly controlled an on-site visit and who the researchers compiling the report spoke to. The WHO team was only allowed three hours inside the Wuhan lab and was unable to examine any of the Wuhan institute’s safety logs or records of testing on its staff.
China’s actions led to Biden’s White House calling for greater transparency.
Even Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said that the visit was inconclusive, adding that ‘all hypotheses are open’ and warranted future study.
By May 11, Fauci, had accepted that the idea of the virus escaping from a lab had been too quickly dismissed.
Asked whether the virus originated naturally, Fauci replied that he wants to look closer into the matter.
‘I am not convinced about that,’ he said. ‘I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened.
‘Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out. So, you know, that’s the reason why I said I’m perfectly in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus.’
Fauci’s revelation came as a shock to many on the left who have accepted China’s narrative that coronavirus spread from a wet market since the virus first emerged.
Of course, China continues to insist that COVID-19 did not originate in the Wuhan lab.
‘The U.S. keeps concocting inconsistent claims and clamoring to investigate labs in Wuhan,’ China’s foreign ministry said in a written statement on May 24. This fully shows that some people in the U.S. don’t care about facts and truth.’
On May 1, 2020, CNN reported that Trump had ‘contradicted’ the intel community by claiming to have seen evidence the virus came from a lab.
‘President Donald Trump contradicted a rare on-the-record statement from his own intelligence community by claiming Thursday that he has seen evidence that gives him a ‘high degree of confidence’ the novel coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, but declined to provide details to back up his assertion.
‘The comments undercut a public statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued just hours earlier which stated no such assessment has been made and continues to ‘rigorously examine’ whether the outbreak ‘began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.’
‘Yes, I have,’ Trump said when asked whether he’s seen evidence that would suggest the virus originated in the lab. Later, asked why he was confident in that assessment, Trump demurred.
‘I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that,’ the report read.
Then on May 5, 2020, their editor-at-large Chris Cillizza wrote a scathing attack on the suggestion, entitled: Anthony Fauci just crushed Donald Trump’s theory on the origins of the coronavirus.