Kentucky Senator Rand Paul confronted Dr. Anthony Fauci, the former chief White House medical adviser and former director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), saying he should “take some responsibility for funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan,” while saying “what you’ve done is change the definition on your website to try to cover your a**.”
“I don’t expect you today to admit that you approved of NIH funding for gain-of-function research in Wuhan, but your repeated denials have worn thin and a majority of Americans frankly, don’t believe you,” Paul began. “Even the NIH now admits that EcoHealth Alliance (the non-profit that collaborated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the nearby Wuhan University Center for Animal Experiment) did perform experiments in Wuhan that created viruses not found in nature that actually did gain in lethality. The facts are clear: The NIH did fund gain-of-function research in Wuhan, despite your protestations.”
In September 2021, The Intercept reported evidence showing that the EcoHealth Alliance, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and the nearby Wuhan University Center for Animal Experiment had engaged in gain-of-function research “intentionally making viruses more pathogenic or transmissible in order to study them … grant money for the controversial experiment came from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is headed by Anthony Fauci.”
“Your persistent denials, though, are not simply a stain on your reputation, but are a clear and present danger to the country and to the world,” Paul stated.
Later in the confrontation, Paul asked, “Will you today, finally take some responsibility for funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan?”
“Senator, with all due respect, I disagree with so many of the things that you said. First of all, gain-of-function is a very nebulous term; we have spent, not us, but outside bodies, a considerable amount of effort to give a more precise definition to the type of research that is of concern that might lead to a dangerous situation. You are aware of that; that is called P3CO,” Fauci answered.
“We’re aware that you deleted gain-of-function from the NIH website,” Paul interjected.
“Well, I can get back to that in a moment if we have time, but let’s get back to the operating framework and guiderails of which we operate under,” Fauci deflected. “And you have ignored them. the guidelines are very, very clear: that you have to be dealing with a pathogen that clearly is shown and very likely to be highly transmissible in an uncontrollable way in humans and to have a high degree of morbidity and mortality and that you do experiments to enhance that, hence the word EPPP: enhanced pathogens potential pandemic.”
Paul pointed out that EcoHealth Alliance took a virus and combined it with WIV-1 to cause a “recombinant virus that doesn’t exist in nature,” adding, “and it made mice sicker — mice that had humanized cells — you’re saying that’s not gain-of-function research?”
“According to the framework and guidelines —” Fauci responded.
“So what you’re doing is defining away gain-of-function; you’re simply saying it doesn’t exist cause you changed the definition on the NIH website,” Paul accused. “This is terrible, and you’re completely trying to escape the idea that we should do something about trying to prevent a pandemic from leaking from a lab. The preponderance of evidence now points toward this coming from a lab, and what you’ve done is change the definition on your website to try to cover your a** basically. That’s what you’ve done; you’ve changed the website to have a new definition that doesn’t include the risky research that’s going on. Until you admit that it’s risky, we’re not gonna get anywhere. You have to admit that this research was risky. The NIH has now rebuked them. Your own agency has rebuked them. But the thing is you’re still unwilling to admit that they gained in function when they say that became sicker; they gained in lethality. It’s a new virus. That’s not gain-of-function?”
“According to the definition that’s currently operable … the current definition was done over a two to three-year period by outside bodies, including the NSABB, two conferences by the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine on December 2014, March 2016. We commissioned external risk-benefit assessment, and then on January of 2017, the Office of Science and Technology Policy of the White House issued the current policy,” Fauci said.
Paul then pointed out: “And coincidentally, the definition appeared on the same day that the NIH said that yes, there was a gain-of-function in Wuhan; the same day the definition appeared; the new definition to try to define away what’s going on in Wuhan. Until you accept it, we’re not going to get responsibility; we’re not going to get anywhere close to trying to prevent another lab leak of this dangerous sort of experiment.”