In light of newly-released emails from 2020, Senator Rand Paul has intensified his calls for Dr. Anthony Fauci to be investigated for allegedly lying to Congress. The Kentucky Republican contends that Fauci committed perjury during his testimony before a Senate committee in July 2021 when he denied that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
The pivotal email in question, sent by Fauci in 2020, referred to a call with several scientists, including Francis Collins, the former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. They expressed concern about unusual mutations in the nCoV virus, which suggested possible human intervention. Fauci highlighted the suspicion that these mutations were artificially inserted, possibly through gain-of-function experiments conducted by scientists at Wuhan University.
Senator Paul pointed out that subsequent investigations and documents released by The Intercept revealed that NIH grants were used to fund gain-of-function research at the WIV. He noted that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined in June that both the Wuhan Institute of Virology and Wuhan University received NIH funding. Specifically, the NIH provided $200,000 in grant funding to Wuhan University for projects related to understanding the risk of bat coronavirus emergence and viral detection in the Yunnan province.
Fauci’s previous testimony, in which he claimed that gain-of-function research was solely conducted by Dr. Shi Zhengli at the Wuhan Institute, appears to be contradicted by the evidence. The Senator cited a paper authored by Wuhan Institute of Virology scientists, which mentioned efforts to produce a “chimeric” coronavirus through genetic experiments involving SARS and MERS viruses. Such actions would meet the definition of gain-of-function research, raising questions about the accuracy of Fauci’s statements.
The controversy escalated further when Paul highlighted that NIH staff had allegedly approved the paper in question, ruling it as not constituting gain-of-function research. However, the Senator contends that the paper, by its own admission, indicated efforts to create an altered virus, contradicting Fauci’s claims.
As the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) from 1984 to 2022, Fauci held significant authority over the NIH’s research funding and project approval processes. If the allegations of perjury are substantiated, it could have serious consequences for the renowned immunologist.