“#ArrestFauci” trended on Twitter Sunday afternoon as Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the top officials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), received a wave of backlash following several revelations about the agency.
Fauci is the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden and serves as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of 27 agencies making up the NIH. As director of the NIAID, Fauci is the chief U.S. official on the study and handling of infectious diseases.
On Wednesday, the NIH admitted in a letter to lawmakers that U.S. taxpayers funded research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) that led to the creation of a more severe strain of bat coronavirus. The NIH also admitted that its grantee that funded the research, EcoHealth Alliance, violated the terms of its grant by failing to report the outcome of the research. The WIV is one of the chief suspects for the origin of COVID-19.
In a May Senate hearing, Fauci claimed that the NIH “has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” The NIH admission appears to contradict Fauci’s claim and undermines his past support for EcoHealth and its president, Peter Daszak.
On Sunday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) called on Fauci to answer for a report that the NIH funded experiments on dozens of beagle puppies in a lab in Tunisia, North Africa. The report, released by the investigative group White Coat Waste Project, alleges that scientists infected 44 puppies with disease-causing parasites for experimental drug testing.
The lawmakers’ letter describes the research as “costly, cruel, and unnecessary.” The letter continues:
According to documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project, and subsequent media coverage, from October 2018 until February 2019, NIAID spent $1.68 million in taxpayer funds on drug tests involving 44 beagle puppies. The dogs were all between six and eight months old. The commissioned tests involved injecting and force-feeding the puppies an experimental drug for several weeks, before killing and dissecting them.
Of particular concern is the fact that the invoice to NIAID included a line item for “cordectomy.” As you are likely aware, a cordectomy, also known as “devocalization,” involves slitting a dog’s vocal cords in order to prevent them from barking, howling, or crying. This cruel procedure — which is opposed with rare exceptions by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, and others — seems to have been performed so that experimenters would not have to listen to the pained cries of the beagle puppies. This is a reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds.
In a letter to Rep. James Comer, Ranking Member on the Oversight and Reform Committee, the NIH provided additional information and documents regarding NIH’s much-scrutinized grant to EcoHealth Alliance. The NIH letter stressed that the “bat coronaviruses studied under the NIH grant to EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. and subaward to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) are not and could not have become SARS-CoV-2.”
Last month, Fauci faced calls to resign over a report on gain-of-function research taking place at the WIV, which followed months of assertions by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) that Fauci had “lied” to Congress and should be investigated. As The Daily Wire reported:
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, is facing calls to answer for a shocking report, published by the Intercept, about the so-called “gain of function” research that the National Institutes of Health funded at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The WIV is thought to be a possible origin point for COVID-19.
In May of 2021, Dr. Fauci, in his testimony to a Senate committee investigating whether the U.S. funded “gain-of-function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, claimed that the NIH “has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
The Intercept, however, found, through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, evidence that the NIH issued a “bat coronavirus grant” to a group called the EcoHealth Alliance for “$3.1 million, including $599,000 that the Wuhan Institute of Virology used in part to identify and alter bat coronaviruses likely to infect humans.”
This article has been revised for clarity.