Rand Paul: Fauci must answer why he upgraded animal viruses to infect humans

It’s time for Fauci to fess up.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul took aim at Dr. Anthony Fauci once more, demanding in a Fox News appearance to know what role the nation’s top infectious disease expert played in allowing particular coronavirus research.

The Kentucky Republican spoke on the hypocrisy of President Joe Biden and his administration on COVID-19 response as well as targeting Fauci in his response to Fox News host Maria Bartiromo’s question about investigating the origins of the pandemic.

“Every opportunity that President Biden has had, in terms of speaking with [Chinese] President Xi Jinping, the subject never comes up,” Bartiromo said on “Sunday Morning Futures,” referring to a bill introduced to “force the administration to declassify the intelligence related to the origin of COVID”

“So can you explain this, why he has a private phone call with president XI and he never asks him why the Chinese Communist Party his this to the world…allowed the virus to escape its borders. Not a word from anybody on the origins of COVID and I thought this was the priority?” the Fox News asked.

(Video: Fox News)

The senator responded by suggesting the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases should be asked a few questions.

“There is a huge ethical question about the origins of the virus,” Senator Paul said. “The ethical question is should we be doing gain-of-function, should we be upgrading animal viruses in the lab to make them more susceptible to humans?”

Paul continued, saying he “can’t tell you for certain that this escaped the lab” but posited that “it’s a reasonable question to ask.”

Since COVID-19 first began making headlines, the origins of the virus controversially point to the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab in China, where experiments on bat coronaviruses were being conducted. In April 2020, Newsweek reported that the Fauci-led National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) gave $7.4 million for two research programs on bat coronaviruses lasting five and six years.

The research included gain-of-function work, which involves experimenting with animal viruses to explore their potential for infecting humans. This practice of creating highly infectious viruses was heavily criticized by more than 200 in the scientific community because of the risk of accidental release.

Virologist Shi Zheng-Li and other researchers at the Wuhan lab investigated and cataloged bat coronaviruses in the wild as part of the first project until 2019. The second part of the multi-million dollar project began soon after and included additional surveillance work and gain of function research. NIH reportedly canceled the project on April 24, 2020.

Fauci has also conducted gain-of-function experiments on birds and ferrets, the intention being to upgrade a low-infectious level disease to a highly transmissible, pandemic-level virus.

“But what you have to ask Dr. Fauci is why did he, in overseeing these labs, allow gain-of-function?” Paul told Bartiromo on Sunday.

“Why is he allowing labs to get government money to upgrade animal viruses so they can infect humans?” he asked. “We got worried about this around 2 or 3 years ago. We closed down about half of them but then Dr. Fauci and his committees opened them back up. We need to ask him why are we doing this in China but, are we doing this in the US?”

Paul wondered “are we giving viruses the ability to invade the human species and then potentially letting them out of the lab? I know we don’t want them out so might be inadvertent in China or here, but I think we should be discussing the danger of increasing the potency of a virus and allowing it to escape animals and humans because we doctor the virus. Maybe we shouldn’t be doing that.”

Earlier in the interview, the senator also called out Biden for engaging in “theater” and showing a “great ignorance of science” by wearing a face mask, even though he has received his full dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, during a virtual summit with other world leaders.

“You’ve got leaders from across the world sitting there virtually and he’s got a mask on. What do you make of this?” Bartiromo asked Paul, referring to the meeting last week.

(Video: Fox News)

“You know, I guess this means that Doctor Anthony Fauci has determined that you can get COVID and you can catch it through your web cam, and that is the only thing I can conclude,” Paul replied.

“Really, it is silly and this type of theater really is distracting to people who need to go out and get the vaccine,” he continued.

“But when Biden goes on the computer screen to a Zoom call and wears a mask, he is making a mockery of the science and this is dissuading people who are skeptical anyway,” Paul said, adding that “if you want to convince people who are skeptical that the vaccine works, show them that we have protection after we’ve been vaccinated. Show them that after we’ve had the disease naturally, that we have protection.”

“Don’t be excoriating people to keep wearing masks after they already have immunity. Let people live again,” Paul concluded. “But by doing this sort of fake science and wearing a mask while you’re on a Zoom call it shows great ignorance of science, but it also tells the people that you’re really being dishonest with them and they tend not to believe the other things that you will tell them.”

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