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NIH Quietly Altered Definition For Gain-Of-Function Research On Its Website, Former Fauci Aide Confirms

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak confirmed on Thursday that his agency’s communications department altered NIH’s definition for gain-of-function research, with the change being “vetted” by “experts.”

The NIH until Oct. 20, 2021 defined this research as “modif[ying] a biological agent so that it confers new or enhanced activity to that agent,” while “some scientists use the term broadly to refer to any such modification,” according to the House Oversight Committee. Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York questioned Tabak, a former aide to Dr. Anthony Fauci, about the agency changing its definition of the research on its website, asking him who authorized the alteration.

WATCH:

The current website does not define gain-of-function research, but asserts this research is usually uninvolved with enhanced potential pandemic pathogens.

“The change was made by our communications department because of the confusion that people have about the generic term of gain-of-function and the specific term gain-of-function,” Tabak testified.

Malliotakis responded by suggesting the communications department would not be qualified to make a change like this and must have had other input.

“The content was vetted,” Tabak testified. “By individuals who are subject-matter experts.”

Fauci firmly denied that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) funded gain-of-function research on bat-based coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) before the COVID-19 pandemic during a Senate hearing in May 2021.

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

Tabak testified on Thursday that the NIH did fund this research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but it “depends on [the] definition.”

The NIAID, which Fauci previously led, funded the nonprofit group EcoHealth Alliance to study bat-based coronaviruses in China that consisted of the transfer of $600,000 to the WIV, the Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported.

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Jason Cohen

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