Dr. Anthony Fauci, under attack for his role in funding research at a laboratory many suspect of being the cause of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, defended his actions Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union talk show.
Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has admitted that the US gave the Wuhan, China lab hundreds of thousands of dollars for research. He has, however, denied it was specifically for the dangerous “gain of function” studies, wherein researchers alter a disease to increase pathogenesis, transmissibility, or host range. Such modifications hope to develop vaccines and therapeutics, but create deadlier strains. Some speculate one such strain escaped the Wuhan lab.
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Senator Rand Paul has outlined his intentions to ask the Dept. of Justice for a criminal referral Fauci, claiming he has lied to Congress. The Kentucky lawmaker has had several heated exchanges with Fauci in hearings before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Fauci defended funding Chinese research to CNN’s Tapper.
“It was a… proposal that was peer-reviewed and given a very high rating for the importance of why it should be done,” Fauci said. “[The proposal was] to be able to go and do a survey of what was going on among the bat population, because everyone in the world was trying to figure out what the original source of the original SARS CoV-1 was.”
The National Institutes of Health earmarked $600,000 for a nonprofit linked to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“It was almost as if you didn’t pursue that research you would be negligent because you were trying to find out how you could prevent this from happening again,” Fauci said. “If we were starting to look for bats in Secaucus, New Jersey, or Fairfax County, Virginia, it wouldn’t contribute very much to the standing of where SARS COV-1 originated.”