Republican Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases discuss the on-going federal response to Covid-19 on May 11, 2021 at the US Capitol in Washington Photograph:( AFP )
The Republican senator claims that Dr Fauci authorised and funded risky research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where scientists performed gain-of-function research, that is, making any virus more infectious and deadly
A congressional hearing on the coronavirus pandemic became heated after Republican Senator Rand Paul accused infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, for being personally involved in the origin of the virus.
Paul has been at the forefront of pressing Dr Fauci and other officials during COVID-19 to get answers on masking, capacity limits, and business shutdowns.
The Republican senator claims that Dr Fauci authorised and funded risky research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where scientists performed gain-of-function research, that is, making any virus more infectious and deadly.
He said that was not examined and investigated, due to lack of curiosity from health officials and 'pro-China bias' of the American media.
“For years, Dr. Ralph Baric, a virologist in the US, has been collaborating with Dr. Shi Zhengli from the Wuhan Virology Institute, sharing his discoveries about how to create superviruses,” Paul added.
"Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect that the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan institute" -- Dr. Fauci pic.twitter.com/6KP6PeoURz— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 11, 2021
Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said “Wuhan Institute of Virology is a Chinese institution which we assume has multiple sources of funding. It is impossible for us to be aware of nor can we account for all of their activities.”
However, a study conducted by the institute on construction of novel chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses able to infect human cells and lab animals cites a grant by the National Institutes of Health.
The construction of novel chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses able to infect human cells and lab animals at WIV (1) was published with an acknowledgment to NIH grant AI110964 (https://t.co/WflZCji8Ku), and (2) was reported to NIH under NIH grant AI110964 (https://t.co/lRV7MjMhQz)— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) May 11, 2021
US health agencies including the National Institute of Health (NIH) diverted $600,000 in grants to the Wuhan Institute from 2014 to 2019 to study bat coronaviruses.
It was suspended by the Obama administration in 2014 over safety concerns. However, this year, amid the pandemic the NIH has proposed an increased in funding of gain-of-function research despite the possibility that coronavirus was a product of such research.
Jordan demanded to know when Americans could "get their liberty and freedoms back".
In response, Fauci said, "I don't look at this as a liberty thing… I look at this as a public health thing."
When Jordan went over his allotted question time, demanding a specific metric from Fauci for an end to coronavirus restrictions, Democratic Representative Maxine Waters interjected, telling him: "You need to respect the chair and shut your mouth."
Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky testified before the U.S. House Oversight Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis in a hybrid hearing called: "Reaching the Light at the End of the Tunnel: A Science-Driven Approach to Swiftly and Safely Ending the Pandemic."