Fauci ‘Prompted’ Scientific Paper Purporting to Debunk Covid Lab-Leak Theory, Emails Show

Dr. Fauci commissioned a scientific study that purported to debunk the hypothesis that Covid escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, according to emails released by House Republicans.

On Sunday, the GOP-led House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic revealed that the nation’s leading epidemiologist in February 2020 directed and approved a paper titled, “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2,” which he later cited to cast the lab-leak theory as a myth.

“New evidence released by the Select Subcommittee today suggests that Dr. Fauci ‘prompted’ the drafting of a publication that would ‘disprove’ the lab leak theory, the authors of this paper skewed available evidence to achieve that goal, and Dr. Jeremy Farrar went uncredited despite significant involvement,” a memo from the committee read.

On February 1, 2020, Fauci, then director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Francis Collins, then director of the National Institutes of Health, held a call with several scientists to discuss the origins of the virus. A group of evolutionary virologists on the call informed Fauci and Collins that Covid may have stemmed from a lab accident and may have been genetically engineered, according to the memo.

Three days later, four of the experts who attended that meeting drafted a research document, which was forwarded to Fauci upon completion for editing and approval. The paper, later published in Nature Medicine, argued that Covid had “mutations” that supported the explanation that it had been transmitted to humans from animals.

One of the four authors, Dr. Kristin Andersen, admits in a cover email sent to Nature that Fauci “prompted” the paper’s drafting in order to “disprove” the lab-leak theory.

“There has been a lot of speculation, fear-mongering, and conspiracies put forward in this space. [This paper was] Prompted by Jeremy Farrah [sic], Tony Fauci, and Francis Collins,” Andersen wrote in the email, released Sunday by the House committee.

In April, 2020, Fauci addressed reporters at a White House press conference alongside former president Trump, pointing to the paper as justification for his belief that the lab-leak theory was a far-fetched conspiracy. Fauci did not acknowledge his own role in commissioning the paper and feigned ignorance as to the identities of its authors.

“There was a study recently where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences … in bats as they evolve and the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human,” Fauci said at the time.

“So, the paper will be available. I don’t have the authors right now, but we can make it available to you,” he said.

Fauci told National Geographic a month later that Covid “could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated.”

Flash forward to November 2022, when Fauci, who had announced his retirement from government, said on CBS’s Face the Nation that he remained convinced that the virus emerged naturally, claiming the evidence backing that theory was “quite strong.” During that media appearance, Fauci lectured that officials must ensure that future probes into Covid’s source are not politically motivated. They should “keep the politics out of” those investigations, he said. Fauci vowed to cooperate with the oversight efforts of House Republicans over his role in the U.S. pandemic response and insisted he had “nothing to hide.”

“If there are oversight hearings, I absolutely will cooperate fully and testify before the Congress,” Fauci said. “You may not know, but I’ve testified before the Congress a few hundred times, okay, over the last 40 years or so, so I have no trouble testifying. We can defend, and explain, and stand by everything that we’ve said, so I have nothing to hide.”

This month, the Department of Energy assessed that Covid most likely originated from a laboratory leak, according to a classified intelligence report included in an update to a 2021 document by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines’s office. The FBI arrived at the same conclusion with “moderate confidence” in 2021, according to declassified intelligence report. Bureau director Christopher Wray went on the record with Fox News Tuesday with that opinion.

“The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan,” Wray said. “Here you are talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab.”

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