A new report by the House of Representatives’ Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic alleges then-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci prompted an effort to suppress the theory that the coronavirus emerged from a lab in Wuhan, China.
Fauci on numerous occasions prompted researchers to author a paper intended to “discredit” the theory that COVID-19 originated from a lab, the report states, citing internal emails. Additionally, one of the paper’s own authors noted that the paper did not help “refute a lab origin” theory.
“Our main work over the last couple of weeks has been focused on trying to disprove any type of lab theory,” wrote Kristian G. Andersen, a professor at Scripps Research, who was the author of a research paper that claimed “COVID-19 was not a laboratory construct or a purposely manipulated virus,” according to the report.
That research, known as the “Proximal Origin” paper, was instigated by Fauci and senior staff at the National Institutes of Health to prevent “unnecessary harm … to China in particular,” the report reads.
Fauci is recounted by Andersen as suggesting that he write this paper to discredit the idea that COVID-19 leaked from a Chinese laboratory, with her saying, “I remember hearing him saying that if you think this came from a lab, you should write this up a peer-reviewed paper,” referring to the Proximal Origin paper.
Another author, Andrew Rambaut, wrote that a draft of the paper was sent to the “Bethesda boys,” referring to the NIH, which is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, as well as Fauci and Francis Collins, the NIH’s director at the time, per the report.
Rambaut also lamented the “sh– show that would happen if anyone serious accused the Chinese of even accidental release,” which the House report viewed as a suggestion that the Proximal Origin paper was motivated by potential controversy and political considerations, rather than solely on scientific bases.
“This was antithetical to science,” wrote Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, a physician and chairman of the subcommittee, at a hearing about the Proximal Origin report on Tuesday.
“The authors of Proximal Origin ultimately took a one-sided educated guess … [and] wilfully ignored evidence of a lab leak,” he added, noting that—per testimony by Dr. Robert Redfield, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—that “science doesn’t follow a narrative, but fosters debate.”
After Fauci’s encouragement, the report was eventually published in Nature Medicine and became the fifth-most viewed scientific paper in history, with 5.84 million scholarly accesses via Nature, per the report.
Fauci quoted the paper frequently to claim that the virus did not leak from a lab in China, and it formed the basis of his recommendations to then-President Donald Trump during the government’s response to the pandemic.
The lab leak theory was initially discredited by scientific authorities and U.S. government officials, though some agencies, such as the FBI, endorsed the theory that the virus may have originated in a laboratory. FBI Director Christopher Wray said that “the FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident” on Fox News on March 1.
In February, the Department of Energy revised its assessment regarding the origins of the virus, that it was no longer “undecided” about its origins, but had “low confidence” in a lab leak being the origin. In 2021, President Joe Biden noted that the intelligence committee had “coalesced around two scenarios” of coronavirus’ origin, one of which was the lab leak theory.
Fauci did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation
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