Virologist who emailed Fauci COVID-19 looked ‘engineered’ deletes 5k tweets, then entire account

Kristian G. Andersen, the virologist who emailed Dr. Anthony Fauci and posited that COVID-19 had “unusual features” that “potentially look engineered,” deleted 5,000 tweets on Sunday and then deleted his entire Twitter account.

Andersen is a professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the highly regarded Scripps Research Institute. He is a colleague of Fauci and garnered attention as thousands of emails surfaced last week that mentioned him specifically. But he made even more headlines by apparently deleting his messages.

“On a phylogenetic tree the virus looks totally normal and the close clustering with bats suggest that bats serve as the reservoir. The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome (<0.1%) so one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered,” he wrote in an email to Fauci.

As individuals on Twitter queried Andersen on his tweets, he started deleting them. After he deleted 5,000 tweets, he alleged, “My old tweets auto-deletes.” However, users were quick to point out that Twitter does not have that feature. Caught in what appears to be a falsehood, Andersen proceeded to delete his entire Twitter account.

Andersen has been accused of a cover-up concerning his apparent flip-flop on how the virus originated. Just days before deleting his account, Andersen replied to Sky News host Sharri Markson who asserted that Fauci had been part of a “cover-up”: “I know it’s super mundane, but it isn’t actually a ‘massive cover-up’ Sharri.”

“It’s just science. Boring, I know, but it’s quite a helpful thing to have in times of uncertainty,” he contended.

The email that started this chain of events was in a trove uncovered in a Freedom of Information Act request by BuzzFeed News and was from January 31, 2020.

The virologist later added in his email to Dr. Fauci: “We have a good team lined up to look very critically at this, so we should know much more by the end of the weekend.”

Andersen also noted that following discussions with his team that they “all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory. But we have to look at this much more closely and there are still further analyses to be done, so those opinions could still change.”

In a paper entitled “proximal Origin” from March 17, 2020, Andersen would go on to state the exact opposite in Nature Medicine where he claimed COVID-19 was not created in a lab or “purposefully manipulated.”

Reportedly five months after his paper was published, Andersen received $1.88 million from the Centers for Research in Emerging Infection Diseases (CREID) funding doled out by the NIH.

Questions started rolling in from other experts. Roger Pielke Jr., who is a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, asked Andersen via Twitter what he meant by “all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory.”

Andersen replied: “It specifically means we thought – on preliminary look – that the virus could have been engineered and/ or manipulated. Turns out the data suggest otherwise – which is the conclusion of our paper.”

He remarked to Newsweek in May that the lab leak theory was “based purely on speculation” and that he hadn’t found any “credible evidence” to support it.

Andersen added: “All statements in our article were supported by evidence available at the time, and they have only since been further strengthened by additional evidence, of which there is a great deal.”

Even though the virologist has deleted his account, he can’t escape those on Twitter who are lambasting him for what they perceive as dishonesty, or worse:


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