The U.S. Energy Department reportedly concluded that the COVID virus likely leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China. Even though the agency said it was a “low confidence” conclusion, the pronouncement elevated the once-conspiracy theory and appeared to vindicate those who had at least questioned the virus’s origin.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease expert, had long sought to sell the idea that the virus emerged naturally.
In April 2020, he cited a study that found the virus’s mutations are “consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human.”
“There was a study recently,” Fauci told reporters on April 17, 2020, when asked if it was possible that virus came from a Chinese lab, “where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences… in bats as they evolve and the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human.
“So, the paper will be available. I don’t have the authors right now, but we can make it available to you,” Fauci said.
But now, new emails revealed by House Republicans show a completely different story.
The emails show Fauci “prompted” that very study to disprove the theory that the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China. In fact, he had final approval of the scientific paper he had commissioned, the New York Post reported.
That paper, entitled “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2,” was delivered to Fauci for final approval before it was published in Nature Medicine on February 17, 2020.
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The paper “was written four days after Fauci, and his NIH boss Francis Collins, held a call with the four authors to discuss reports that COVID-19 may have leaked from the Wuhan lab and ‘may have been intentionally genetically manipulated,'” the Post wrote.
The House Oversight subcommittee examining COVID released emails on Sunday that show the paper’s co-author, Dr. Kristian Andersen, said Fauci “prompted” him to write the paper with the specific goal to “disprove” the lab-leak theory.
“There has been a lot of speculation, fear-mongering, and conspiracies put forward in this space,” Andersen wrote on February 12, 2020, in a cover letter when submitting the paper to Nature Medicine. He said the paper was “prompted” by “Tony Fauci” and Jeremy Farrer.
Farrar was then the head of the British nonprofit, the Wellcome Trust, which has long ties to the pharmaceutical industry. On the day the paper was published, emails show Farrar pushed for an edit to the piece. “Sorry to micromanage/micro edit! But would you be willing to change one sentence?”
He wanted to change the word “unlikely” with “improbable” so a sentence would read: “It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of an existing SARS-related coronavirus.”
But that wasn’t the case at all. In a newly updated classified intelligence report, the Department of Energy assessed that the COVID virus “most likely” came from a laboratory leak in China, according to CNN.
A senior US intelligence official told The Wall Street Journal that the update to the intelligence assessment “was conducted in light of new intelligence, further study of academic literature and in consultation with experts outside government.”
The issue is far from over.
“We need to do extensive hearings,” Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“I hope our Democratic colleagues in the Congress can support that. I know the Republicans in the House are certainly supportive of that,” he said. “Think about what just happened over the last three years, one of the biggest pandemics in a century. A lot of evidence that it’s coming from the Chinese.”
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.