Sen. Rand Paul, reinvigorated by newly-released emails from 2020 showing Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted that scientists at Wuhan University were known to have been working on gain-of-function experiments, is calling for Fauci to be investigated for lying to Congress.
The Kentucky Republican wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland last week, saying Fauci had committed perjury when he told a Senate committee in July 2021 that the National Institutes of Health “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).” Fauci served as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) from 1984-2022; NIAID is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The 2020 email from Fauci revolved around a call he shared with various scientists, including Francis Collins, (former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute), who were “concerned about the fact that upon viewing the sequences of several isolates of the nCoV, there were mutations in the virus that would be most unusual to have evolved naturally in the bats and that there was a suspicion that this mutation was inserted.”
This key passage immediately followed: “The suspicion was heightened by the fact that scientists in Wuhan University are known to have been working on gain-of-function experiments to determine the molecular mechanisms associated with bat viruses adapting to human infection, and the outbreak originated in Wuhan.”
In September 2021, Richard Ebright, professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University and laboratory director at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology, told Newsweek that documents released by The Intercept proved “unequivocally” that NIH grants were used to fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Paul pointed out that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined in June that the Wuhan Institute of Virology and Wuhan University did receive NIH funding.
Paul noted that the GAO report “noted that NIH funded the WIV’s project ‘Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence’ and included “genetic experiments to combine naturally occurring bat coronaviruses with SARS and MERS viruses, resulting in hybridized coronavirus strains. … GAO also found that NIH funded the Wuhan University’s collaboration with WIV on viral detection in the Yunnan province.”
The GAO stated, “Specifically, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided $200,000 in grant funding to Wuhan University, the only selected Chinese entity to receive funding directly from a federal agency. … All three selected Chinese entities received first-tier subawards from award recipients or second-tier subawards from another subrecipient. Specifically, we identified seven subawards to the three entities: Wuhan University: Two subawards totaling $240,496 disbursed, WIV: Three subawards totaling $1,413,720 disbursed, and AMMS: Two subawards totaling $514,129 disbursed. … Funding was disbursed under five of the seven subawards to the selected entities in calendar years 2014 through 2021.”
Fauci told the Senate Committee in 2021 that “gain-of-function research was done entirely in the Wuhan Institute by Doctor Shi [Zhengli] and was funded by the NIH.”
Paul pointed out that a paper by Wuhan Institute of Virology scientists mentioned efforts to produce a “chimeric” coronavirus. Such a virus would have been altered by humans, definitionally making it “gain of function.”
Paul stated that the information “explicitly matches the definition of gain-of-function research,” while Fauci had said, “This paper was judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain-of-function.”