The decade's most triggering comedy
The FBI, Department of Energy, and a U.S. Senate investigation have all determined that COVID, which has now killed nearly 7 million people around the world, likely emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In doing so, they seem to have rejected Fauci’s improbable claim that the mystery bat virus broke out just a couple of football fields away from the mysterious bat virus lab, completely independent of the dangerous research Fauci’s agency was likely funding inside.
Andersen, a British virologist with the San Diego-based Scripps Research Institute, had even more reasons than mere proximity to suspect a lab leak back in January of 2020, when COVID was just starting to emerge. Andersen and three virology peers had studied the genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 and suspected right away that it was cooked up in a lab, not a bowl of bat soup from the Wuhan food court.
“Eddie, Bob, Mike and myself all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory,” Andersen wrote in an email to Fauci dated Jan. 31, 2020.
The consensus Andersen spoke of was between Edward C. Holmes of the University of Sydney; Robert F. Garry of Tulane University; and Michael Farzan, also of Scripps Research. They were sure COVID was engineered, at least until after a follow-up conference call with Fauci days later, the subject of which we don’t know. After that call, and a Feb. 2 email from Fauci’s then-boss, Dr. Francis Collins, warning that traction for the lab leak theory could mean “the voices of conspiracy will quickly dominate, doing great potential harm to science and international harmony,” Andersen changed his mind – or at least his position.
By Feb. 4 he was characterizing claims the mystery bat virus came from the mysterious bat virus lab as one of several “crackpot theories” about COVID’s origin. In March of that year, he co-published a paper in the journal Nature Medicine that declared COVID was not made in a laboratory or “purposefully manipulated.” A few months later, Andersen got a $1.88 million research grant from Collins’ National Institutes of Health, according to author Andrew Huff.
We only know about Andersen’s original email to Fauci thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by BuzzFeed News more than a year later. Andersen’s abrupt about-face lent credibility to Fauci’s insistence that COVID couldn’t possibly have been man-made, a claim slavishly parroted by the pliant liberal press and social media, and viciously enforced by the “fact-check” industry that worked to demonetize any site that dared suggest the mystery bat virus may have come out of the mysterious bat virus lab.
After the embarrassing emails were revealed, Andersen was asked about his flip-flop. Why had he and his colleagues appeared so certain at first, only to soon become just as certain they’d been wrong?
It’s all part of the scientific process, he said.
“As I have said many times, we seriously considered a lab leak a possibility,” he tweeted. “However, significant new data, extensive analyses and many discussions led to the conclusions in our paper.”
The Nature Medicine article concluded that, of all the locations on the planet where a deadly, never-before seen mutation of a bat virus could have broken out, it happened in the shadow of a laboratory that conducted research on bat viruses, yet had nothing to do with the lab. You might’ve called B.S. on that from your BarcaLounger. Then-President Trump certainly did.
The man on the left is Kristian Andersen, a British scientist who emailed Fauci 1/31/20, saying the virus looks lab-made. The man on the right is Kristian Andersen, the guy who Fauci called on 2/1/20 and ordered to publicly say it wasn’t lab-made, which he did. Fauci then gave… https://t.co/UDzIhNb37k pic.twitter.com/LY7ttS23kJ
— Mises Caucus (@LPMisesCaucus) March 1, 2023
“Yes, I have,” Trump replied on April 30, 2020, when a Fox News reporter asked him if he had seen evidence COVID leaked from the lab. Trump went on to infuriate the Left by calling COVID the “China virus” and blaming the World Health Organization for allowing Beijing to hide its catastrophic malfeasance.
If Trump said it was a lab leak and Fauci said it wasn’t, you know where Big Media, Fact Check Inc., the late-night woke-jokers, Facebook and pre-Elon Musk Twitter stood. Thanks in part to Sen. Rand Paul, we’ve since learned Fauci’s motivation for fibbing: His agency had almost certainly funded dangerous gain-of-function research on bat viruses in the Wuhan lab through grants to EcoHealth Alliance.
We may never have clarity about how knowing the origin of the virus early on could have changed how scientists, health officials and elected leaders responded to the pandemic. What was always the most plausible and obvious scenario was buried because Fauci wanted to keep his own potential culpability under wraps and the media wanted to believe Fauci over Trump and their own lying eyes.
And Kristian Andersen? Fauci gave him nearly two million reasons to say the mystery bat virus didn’t come from the mysterious bat virus lab.