Dr. Anthony Fauci, currently recognized as the nation’s top infectious disease expert, locked horns with Sen. Rand Paul (Kentucky GOP) on Tuesday in a heated battle on Capitol Hill after Paul’s insinuation that the U.S. helped fund research at a Chinese lab that could have sparked the COVID-19 outbreak.
The practice of enhancing a virus in a lab to study its potential impact in the real world is known as “gain-of-function,” and can have disastrous consequences if the virus were to escape controlled conditions.
Paul subjected Fauci, the head of the National Institutes of Allergy & Infectious Disease, to somewhat brutal questioning concerning a document sourced by another epidemiological expert during a Senate hearing. Chaired by Democrat Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota Fauci argued over Paul’s definition of “gain-of-function” research.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told “Fox News Primetime” Tuesday night that scientists with differing opinions about COVID-19 origins keep it to themselves because “the top disease expert controls much of their funding.”
He noted that the NIH’s definition of gain-of-function research, as well as a scholarly paper from a cellular biology expert working at Rutgers University in New Jersey, which described Wuhan lab official Dr. Shi Zhengli’s work as the ‘textbook’ definition of such experimentation.
In the document Fauci authored that year, he defended controversial gain-of-function research, saying that the “benefits” gained from the science “outweigh the risk” of an accidental pandemic breaking out.
“It is more likely that a pandemic would occur in nature, and the need to stay ahead of such a threat is a primary reason for performing an experiment that might appear to be risky,” the paper read.
Paul intoned that Fauci had lied before Congress in May by denying that the National Institutes of Health funded a gain of function research project at a Wuhan virology lab (many believe COVID-19 originated here). U.S. intelligence agencies are currently exploring theories that an accidental leak from that lab could have led to the pandemic.
(Authors’ note: said “exploration” does not appear to be at a particularly high-intensity level …)
The senator went on to suggest that Fauci, appointed the head of NIAID by President Reagan in 1984, reconsider prior testimony denying NIAID or NIH’s funding at the Wuhan lab citing federal perjury laws.
Paul reacted further to Fauci’s behavior and restated his assertion that the 80-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y. native is not submitting full disclosure on the topic of gain-of-function research funding.
“Fauci has a “significant conflict of interest” in the Wuhan matter because he was “at the top of the food chain” of funding distribution and now claims none of it went to the dangerous gain-of-function research.”
“All he is saying is oh, well, the research now doesn’t meet our definition,” he said. “He is dancing around the truth. Why? Because if this disease came from the lab and they were funding gain of function, guess what? There is at the very least moral culpability he has for the beginning of the pandemic.”
Paul added that in 2012, Fauci made statements about the potential for a pandemic leaking from a lab, and that if such a situation occurred the research would be worth the risk.
There have been a series of clashes between Paul and Fauci over the origins of the virus behind the pandemic.
“All Dr. Fauci could do was sputter and call me liar — but he never at any point in time addressed any of the facts that we laid out that the money he was giving to Wuhan was indeed for gain of function.”
“I have not lied before Congress. I have never lied. Certainly not before Congress. Case closed,” Fauci told Paul before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, saying a study the senator mentioned referenced a different sort of virus entirely from the one responsible for the coronavirus outbreak.
“Sen. Paul, you do not know what you’re talking about, quite frankly,” Fauci said. “And I want to say that officially. You do not know what you’re talking about.”
He added, “If anybody is lying here, senator, it is you.”
Paul reiterated the fact that he is one of few prominent medical experts — as a doctor himself — contradicting Fauci to the assertion that many others in medicine rely on NIAID funding — which Fauci controls-is being used as a de facto strong-arm method to stifle dissenting opinions.
The senator said that he receives letters from scientists that routinely contradict Fauci’s assertion, prescriptions and public statements, but that they all consistently espouse that they are afraid to speak out against what the health care bureaucrat says for fear of financial retribution.
Similarly, back in the 1970s, The Carter administration employed scientists who crusaded against coconut oil and butter used in theaters and fast-food restaurants. They pushed for the more ‘heart friendly’ partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, (margarine), and argued vociferously against anyone who dared contradict or question the “research.”
Then everyone started dropping from heart disease. So far, those scientists just went quiescent and faded away, without ever withdrawing the conclusions.
Follow the science? Better check who signs those paychecks first.
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