National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director and White House medical advser Dr. Anthony Fauci is once again under fire after new documents were released, showing that he lied about his agency not funding gain-of-function research of bat viruses at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology.
More than 900 pages of previously unpublished documents outlined several grants provided to British zoologist Peter Daszak's EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit that funneled federal funds to the Wuhan lab to pay for bat coronavirus research.
The Intercept obtained over 900 pages of documentation, which included two previously unpublished grant proposals and project updates concerning EcoHealth Alliance's research, which in the last few years have been scrutinized over safety concerns surrounding deadly viruses. More than 900 pages of documents were released as part of an ongoing Freedom of Information Act litigation by the organization against the NIH.
"This is a road map to the high-risk research that could have led to the current pandemic," U.S. Right To Know executive director Gary Ruskin said.
The group has been investigating the origins of COVID. One of the grants cited in the 900 pages of documents was called "Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence" and outlines an "ambitious effort" by EcoHealth's Daszak to "screen thousands of bat samples for novel coronaviruses."
According to the released documents, the federal grants provided to EcoHealth Alliance amounted to $3.1 million, with $599,000 being funneled into the Wuhan Institute of Virology to support research that would "identify and alter bat coronaviruses likely to infect humans."
While many scientists were concerned over the safety of such gain-of-function research, the grant proposal actually acknowledged this, writing, "Fieldwork involves the highest risk of exposure to SARS or other CoVs, while working in caves with high bat density overhead and the potential for fecal dust to be inhaled."
Broad Institute molecular biologist Alina Chan criticized EcoHealth Alliance for repeatedly downplaying the lab leak theory especially when in the proposal, "they actually point out that they know how risky this work is." Chan added that EcoHealth Alliance warned about getting bitten by these very same virus-infested bats and even "kept records of everyone who got bitten."
She said, "Does EcoHealth have those records? And if not, how can they possibly rule out a research-related accident?"
Back in the U.S., Dr. Fauci is facing renewed backlash from his critics, led by Senator Rand Paul over his denial of virus gain-of-function research in Wuhan. According to the New York Post, taking to Twitter to share, "Surprise surprise - Fauci lied again. And I was right about his agency funding novel Coronavirus research at Wuhan."
The Republican leader added later on Tuesday, "I have already asked the DOJ to review Fauci's testimony for lying to Congress. This report should make it abundantly clear that he needs to be held accountable."
Surprise surprise - Fauci lied again
And I was right about his agency funding novel Coronavirus research at Wuhan.
Read this thread and the papers released. https://t.co/zQizKXLdbd
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) September 7, 2021
Rutgers University molecular biologist Richard Ebright concluded that the release of more than 900 pages of documents that reveal details about the grants are proof that "assertions by the NIH Director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV are untruthful."
Back in May, Dr. Fauci declared during Senate Hearing, "The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute."