WASHINGTON — During a congressional hearing examining the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and gain-of-function research, multiple scientist witnesses contradicted Dr. Anthony Fauci’s claim that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) never funded gain of function research.
“The statements made on repeated occasions to the public, to the press and to policymakers by the NIAID director, Dr. Fauci, have been untruthful. I do not understand why those statements are being made because they are demonstrably false,” Rutgers University microbiologist Dr. Richard Ebright said Wednesday, responding to a question from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO).
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said on Wednesday afternoon that this contradiction, backed by the other witnesses, was the most “damning” thing to come out of Wednesday’s hearing — the first hearing examining the role of gain-of-function research (a process in which researchers may stitch viruses together to make a “chimeric” virus for the purpose of studying a response).
“I was told directly to my face, and the quote is there from Dr. Fauci, they had never ever funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan,” Paul told The Daily Wire as he left the hearing, referring to Fauci’s May 2021 assertion that “the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
“All three witnesses contradicted that,” Paul continued. “I think that’s a big deal because the first hearing we have had where scientists who actually look at this information [and], as informed as he is, completely disagree with him and say that the research was gain-of-function and the NIH paid for it.”
The witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing called for significantly greater oversight of gain-of-function research. Dr. Steven Quay, the founder of Seattle-based Atossa Therapeutics Inc., warned that “the work of this committee is critical to protecting the American people and, really, the world at large, from future manmade pandemics.”
Paul has previously called for Fauci to resign from his position for refusing to admit that the agency funded such risky research.
“Until you accept responsibility, we’re not going to get anywhere close to trying to prevent another lab leak of this dangerous sort of experiment,” the Kentucky Republican told Fauci in November. “You won’t admit that it’s dangerous, and for that lack of judgment, I think it’s time that you resign.”