Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci have been at loggerheads over gain-of-function research and a $600,000 grant the National Institutes of Health (NIH) gave to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2014.
Gain of Function Research (GOF) is a controversial practice that involves altering a virus or pathogen in order to study the development of new diseases and their transmission. The research can ultimately make the virus more contagious or more deadly in a lab.
According to an NIH definition, GOF includes studying and altering viruses in animals to make them transmissible to humans – and potentially more contagious and deadly.
Paul accused Fauci on May 11 of misleading Congress by saying the U.S. has never funded gain-of-function projects at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Kentucky Republican points to a $3.7million grant NIH gave EcoHealth Alliance in 2014. EcoHealth Alliance in turn distributed nearly $600,000 of that funding to its collaborator, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
Paul has maintained that emails from Fauci showed that he was worried NIH funded gain-of-function research in February 2020 when the pandemic first started to emerge.
In an interview in June, Paul told Fox News: ‘I think we’ve had a change of opinion. Everybody left-of-center was saying this was a conspiracy, no way it could have happened in the Wuhan lab. Now even Dr. Fauci is saying we should investigate it’
‘But the emails paint a disturbing picture, a disturbing picture of Dr. Fauci form the very beginning worrying that he had been funding gain of function research. And he knows it to this day but hasn’t admitted it.’
Paul claimed in the interview that ‘there is a lot of evidence’ that Fauci’s views on the Wuhan lab-leak theory were compromised by a ‘conflict of interest.’
‘If it turns out this virus came from the Wuhan lab, which it looks like it did, that there’s a great deal of culpability in that he was a big supporter of the funding,’ Paul said.
‘But he was also a big supporter to this day of saying that we can trust the Chinese on this, that we can trust Chinese scientists and I think that’s quite naïve and really should preclude him form the position that he’s in.
In June, Fauci dismissed revelations that he was warned at the start of pandemic that COVID-19 may have been ‘engineered’.
Fauci seemed to play down a mass trove of damaging emails which include warnings from the start of the pandemic that the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
He said his emails are ‘ripe to be taken out of context’ but he ‘can’t guarantee everything that is going on in the Wuhan lab’