COVID Lab Leak: Dr. Anthony Fauci Under Fire For Funding Gain-of-Function Research At Wuhan Institute Of Virology
Dr.Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to the U.S president, faced blistering criticism during a Senate health committee hearing for funding risky "gain-of-function" research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
The 'gain-of-function' experiments involve genetically modifying viruses to make them more infectious in an effort to better understand them. Fauci is a leading advocate of 'gain-of-function' research and was instrumental in reauthorizing it domestically after it was suspended due to safety concerns
China's Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), located just miles from the market where the first COVID-19 outbreak was reported, received funding from Fauci's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases via the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance.
The EcoHealth grant part funded the research at Wuhan Lab that involved analyzing bat specimens collected from caves in China to study their potential for infecting humans. EcoHealth's work in China started in the aftermath of the 2002–2004 SARS epidemic, which also likely originated from bats.
Senator Rand Paul criticised Fauci during a Tuesday hearing for continuing to defend gain-of-function research on deadly viruses despite the possibility that the novel coronavirus leaked from a laboratory that was performing such research in Wuhan, China.
“For years, Dr. Ralph Baric, a virologist in the U.S., has been collaborating with Dr. Shi Zhengli from the Wuhan Virology Institute, sharing his discoveries about how to create superviruses,” Senator Paul said. “This gain-of-function research has been funded by the NIH. … Dr. Fauci, do you still support funding of the NIH lab in Wuhan?”
"With all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect. The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology." Dr. Fauci responded.
“I do not have any accounting of what the Chinese may have done and I am fully in favor of any further investigation of what went on in China,” Dr. Fauci said. “However, I will repeat, the NIH…categorically has not funded gain of function research to be conducted in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
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