White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci is not being fully forthcoming about links between the federal agency he directs and the Wuhan, China, lab from which COVID-19 may have originated, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Tuesday.
Fauci and Paul had butted heads earlier in the day during a Senate committee hearing, during which Fauci forcefully denied that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) funded so-called “gain of function” research by the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
That’s not true, Paul told “Fox News Primetime.”
“There’s a famous scientist in the Wuhan lab, her name is Dr. Shi [Zhengli], and she published a paper a couple years ago which has been reviewed by MIT, and says that it’s a gain-of-function research,” Paul said. “But in the byline, she has to list the sponsors. She lists Dr. Fauci and the NIAID as a sponsor of her research, which everybody acknowledges [is] gain-of-function research, juicing up these superviruses. So, I don’t know how you get around this.”
Newsweek reported last year that beginning in 2014, the NIH funded research by Shi and others into bat coronaviruses to the tune of $3.7 million. Beginning in 2019, Newsweek reported, NIH and NIAID committed another $3.7 million to a six-year research program that included some gain-of-function work. The second phase of the research was overseen by the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance.
“I’m not saying it [coronavirus] did come from the lab. I don’t know,” Paul told host Brian Kilmeade. “But there is a lot of evidence that makes me worried about this lab and the fact that people are not being honest, the fact that Dr. Fauci would lie and say that he didn’t give any money to this lab – now maybe his answer [is] … that he gave it to an intermediary who gave it to them, but if that’s his answer, I would think that’s kind of a curious way of saying it didn’t happen when it really did happen.”
Paul also noted a report by New York magazine from January that an unnamed NIH deputy director attempted to cut off funding from EcoHealth Alliance to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in April 2020, leading to strenuous objections from EcoHealth President Peter Daszak.
“If Fauci’s deputy is writing a note saying that they’re going to stop the money, that implies that there was money flowing to the Wuhan Institute,” Paul claimed. “He says no money was flowing to the Wuhan Institute. Well, then why was it stopped? I mean, none of this makes sense. None of it makes sense at all.”