Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul put questions to COVID-19 spokesperson Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday that did the hearts of conservatives everywhere good and offered an excellent foundation for investigation when he held Fauci’s feet to the fire about the origins of the virus that has caused a worldwide pandemic.
Paul questioned the doctor about U.S. funding that went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is the Chinese lab that some believe is the origin of COVID-19, and after offering his own questions about the agreed-upon consensus among medical professionals, Paul asserted that the National Institute of Health (NIH) funded the Wuhan lab’s gain-of-function research which is the study of how to make pathogens more infections and more lethal.
Paul cut straight to the point when he asked Fauci if he still supported the NIH (of which Fauci is a crucial part) funding the lab in Wuhan.
“Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely, entirely, and completely incorrect,” Fauci replied. “The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
That was quickly debunked by Paul who cited a $3.4 million grant that the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), the part of the NIH run by Fauci, gave to EcoHealth Alliance in 2014.
There was also the little issue of EcoHealth Alliance which paid the lab in Wuhan $598,500 over five years, according to PolitiFact, which also reported: “all parties involved in the grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology have denied that it involved gain-of-function research.”
Somehow though, Fauci denied the claim made by Paul that the research done by Dr. Ralph Baric, whose website claims that he received a $6 million grant from NIAID in 2017 “to accelerate the development of a promising new drug in the fight against deadly coronaviruses,” was something that could be described as “gain of function,” despite Paul’s citation of the hundreds of doctors who in the Cambridge Working Group who would disagree.
“Will you, in front of this group, categorically say that the COVID-19 virus could not have occurred by serial passage in a laboratory?” Paul later asked Fauci.
“I do not have any accounting of what the Chinese may have done, and I’m fully in favor of any further investigation of what went on in China,” Fauci answered. “However, I will repeat again, the NIH and NIAID categorically has not funded gain-of-function research to be conducted in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
All of this questioning was not likely meant to change anyone’s mind, per se. It was in all probability mean to get Fauci to make statements, under oath, that either got to the heart of the truth or put him on record as repeating the same potential lies that he has been peddling to the American people for months.
Not only are Americans looking to get to the bottom of what began the virus that has ripped up the lives of so many, but voters also deserve to have access to accurate information about the officials that claim to be bringing us the truth, but may, in fact, be attempting to solve a crisis of their own making. Or, worse yet, be looking to benefit from that crisis.
Is Fauci and his NIH at fault for COVID-19? Is he profiting off any of the potential cures or therapeutics that are meant to treat the illness? Some say he is, he says he’s not, so who do we believe?
Paul’s arguments seemed to indicate that while he might have had some sort of justification, the good doctor is at least misleading and misdirecting in the way he holds himself accountable.
The Kentucky Republican tweeted shortly after their exchange that he believed Fauci “dissembled or tried to hide his long-time support for ‘gain-of-function’ research which creates super-viruses that jump from animals to humans. 11 labs in the US create these super-viruses in the US and one of them collaborated with Wuhan Virology [Institute] —Fauci has supported NIH funds for all these labs!”