Fauci says ‘no way of guaranteeing’ US taxpayers didn’t fund Wuhan lab gain-of-function research

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, admitted to “modest” collaboration with Chinese scientists at the Wuhan Institute for Virology on studying bat coronaviruses.

Acknowledging the collaboration Tuesday during a House Appropriations Committee subcommittee hearing on the National Institutes of Health 2022 budget request, the director insisted that the agency did not allocate the money to do “gain-of-function” research, according to Fox News.

“It would have been almost a dereliction of our duty if we didn’t study this, and the only way you can study these things is you’ve got to go where the action is,” Fauci said.

Fauci was responding to an inquiry into a $600,000 grant from NIAID that went to a group called EcoHealth Alliance, which then paid the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study the risk that bat coronaviruses could infect humans, the network reported.

His position is that the research he referenced is not the dangerous gain-of-function research, which manipulates the genetic code of a virus to make it stronger and more contagious, with the motivation being to engineer deadly viruses in lab conditions to learn about treatments and vaccines.

Earlier this month, Fauci was grilled by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on whether any U.S. funds were used on gain-of-function research on COVID-19 at the Wuhan Institute and he was emphatic that this was not the case.

“The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” Fauci said.

Testifying Wednesday at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Fauci is singing from a different choir book.

Under questioning by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., Fauci reiterated that no funding went to gain-of-function research, but said he’s relying on statements and research from the “competent trustworthy scientists” in China who said they did not use grant money from the U.S. on this controversial research.

“Have you ever had a grantee lie to you?” Kennedy asked.

“I cannot guarantee that a grantee has not lied to us, because you never know,” Fauci responded.

Kennedy also asked Fauci how does he know they didn’t do the research and just not acknowledge that they did.

“There’s no way of guaranteeing that,” Fauci replied, before adding that the Chinese grantees are “very competent, trustworthy scientists.”

 

“I’m not talking about anything else in China, I’m talking about the scientists, that you would expect that they would abide by the conditions of the grant which they’ve done for the years that we’ve had interaction,” he continued.

Pressed in whether he trusts the Chinese, Fauci repeated that the Chinese scientists “that we’ve dealt with have been trustworthy.”

“You think all the scientists have told the truth in terms of the origin of the Wuhan virus have not been influenced by the Communist Party of China?” Kennedy asked.

“I don’t have enough insight into the communist party in China to know the interactions between them and the scientists,” Fauci responded.

As for social media users, the more they hear from Fauci the more they believe that something is rotten in the state of Denmark — or should we say Wuhan.

Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter:

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Tom Tillison

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