A new letter out Wednesday from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers more evidence Anthony Fauci lied to Congress in repeatedly denying that federal health agencies ever funded “gain of function” research.
“The NIH has not ever and does not now, fund gain-of-function research,” Fauci said in May during a back-and-forth with Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul when challenged on an annual $600,000 grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) through EcoHealth Alliance, a New York-based non-profit. “Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect.”
Five months later, during which new details would emerge to show Fauci lied and would lie again, the NIH has now seemingly contradicted the director of the agency’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
In a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak contended EcoHealth failed to comply with a mandated report as stipulated by the grant that would have triggered a supplemental review process for “gain-of-function” research.
“I told you so” doesn’t even begin to cover it here: https://t.co/9JFn85I24i
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 21, 2021
Gain-of-function research means scientists extract viruses from the wild and engineer them to infect humans. The goal is to study potential therapeutics such as vaccines. The research, long championed by Fauci, who wrote in its defense as worth risking a pandemic over, was deemed so dangerous by the U.S. government it was banned from 2014 to 2017.
The ban was lifted after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) developed enhanced protocols to evaluate grant proposals under the Potential Pandemic Pathogens Control and Oversight Framework. Money flowed from the NIH to WIV, which the U.S. State Department claims was engaged in collaborative work with the Chinese military from 2014-2019, during the first three years of which gain-of-function funding was prohibited.
“The research plan was reviewed by the NIH in advance of funding, and NOH determined that it did not fit the definition of research involving enhanced pathogens of pandemic potential,” Tabak wrote, before elaborating that over the course of the research, new findings were made that would have mandated further review over whether it met the definition for gain-of-function. “EcoHealth failed to report this finding right away, as was required by the terms of the grant.”
The group now has five days to send the NIH “any and all unpublished data from the experiments and work conducted” with the support of American tax dollars.
In July, Fauci doubled down on his denial that any U.S.-funded research constituted gain-of-function study, in another sparring match with Paul.
“Sen. Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly, and I would like to say that officially. You do not know what you are talking about,” Fauci said.
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 20, 2021
The letter from the NIH follows two weeks after the agency director, Francis Collins, announced his resignation.
In June, the HHS inspector general launched a probe of the NIH grant funding of research to study bat coronaviruses at the WIV.