Sen. Rand Paul blasted Dr. Anthony Fauci for denying that funding for the Wuhan lab that experimented with bat-based coronaviruses came from his department at the National Institutes of Health.
“Gain of function research, as you know, is juicing up naturally occurring animal viruses to infect humans. To arrive at the truth, the U.S. government should admit that the Wuhan Virology Institute was experimenting to enhance the coronavirus’s ability to infect humans,” Paul said during the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing on Tuesday.
Fauci, however, denied that the super virus creation research by Ralph Baric, a U.S. virologist, and Shi Zhengli at the Wuhan Virology Institute was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
“Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely, entirely, and completely incorrect,” Fauci said. “The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Dr. Baric does not do gain of function research and if it is, it is according to the guidelines and is being conducted in North Carolina, not in China.”
.@RandPaul: “Dr. Fauci, do you still support…NIH funding of the lab in Wuhan?”
Dr. Anthony Fauci: “Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect…”
Fauci also denied that the money that was funneled by him at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance “to study bat-based coronaviruses in China” including at the Wuhan lab was “gain-of-function.”
“If you look at the grant and you look at the progress reports, it is not gain-of-function, despite the fact that people tweet that, they write about it,” Fauci said.
Paul, however, shot back at Fauci’s claims.
“There was research done with Dr. Shi and Dr. Baric. They have collaborated on gain-of-function research where they enhanced the SARS virus to infect human airway cells and they did it by merging a new spy protein on it. That is gain-of-function. That was joint research between the Wuhan Institute and Dr. Baric. You can’t deny it,” Paul concluded.
Both Paul and Fauci agreed that the origins of COVID-19 need to be further investigated.