Rand Paul Keeps the Heat on Fauci, Demanding Answers on NIH Gain-of-Function Research Funding

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Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) released a list of follow-up questions for Dr. Anthony Fauci two weeks after Fauci’s latest Senate testimony, pushing for more information on U.S. funding of gain-of-function research.

Paul sent eleven “yes or no” questions to Fauci on the subject of potential American funding of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, in a letter to Senate HELP Committee chairwoman Patty Murray (D., Wash.) first reported by Fox News. Gain-of-function research involves making viruses more infectious or deadly for study in a laboratory.

Paul’s questions pertain to a roughly $600,000 National Institutes of Health grant to non-profit EcoHealth Alliance, which funneled the funds to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for research on bat coronaviruses.

The letter demands that Fauci confirm whether the NIH did indeed fund such research at the WIV and asks about how much the agency knew about how the funding was being used at the time.

While the Chinese government has insisted the coronavirus pandemic began as a natural occurrence, politicians and scientists from around the world have called to investigate whether Covid, first detected in the city of Wuhan, could have leaked from the WIV or another laboratory in the city.

“The American people deserve to know how this pandemic started, to know if the NIH funded dangerous gain-of-function research that may have caused this pandemic, and to remove from office anyone, such as Dr. Fauci, who let this happen,” Paul told Fox News in an email.

The NIH admitted in October that EcoHealth had funded research at WIV that enhanced a bat coronavirus to be more infectious. The NIH said the increased infectiousness was an “unexpected result” of the research, and a spokesman for Fauci told Vanity Fair at the time that the experiments did not constitute gain-of-function research because they “were not reasonably expected to increase transmissibility or virulence in humans.”

Fauci and Paul have regularly sparred in Senate hearings over the subject of gain-of-function research and whether or not the NIH funded such research in Wuhan through grants to EcoHealth. Fauci claimed in January 11 Senate testimony that the research conducted by EcoHealth did not fall under the definition of gain-of-function, while Paul accused Fauci of playing semantic games to avoid taking responsibility for green-lighting research that may have led to the pandemic.

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