Top Republicans on Wednesday asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to explain what they described as an "apparent discrepancy" between his recent testimony before Congress and comments made during a conference years ago.
In 2012, Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, described the type of work later done at a laboratory in China as "gain-of-function" research, or enhancement of a virus's transmissibility, adaptability, or pathogenicity.
Fauci's agency gave a grant to the EcoHealth Alliance in 2014 to study the risk of bat coronavirus emergence.
Fauci, though, told members of a Senate panel on May 11 that the National Institutes of Health "has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology."
"This appears to contradict your 2012 statement regarding gain-of-function research and the WIV," House Oversight Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, wrote in the new letter to Fauci.
"Can you please confirm the authenticity of the 2012 video accessible on the YouTube platform? Further, please verify that the 2014 grant description is accurate and explain the apparent discrepancy in your recent testimony?" they asked.
Fauci's agency, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, has not responded to requests for comment on Fauci's 2012 comments appearing to conflict with what he told Congress last month.
Fauci asserted during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Wednesday that people were making points regarding the messages that could be immediately debunked.
"When those data change, when you get more information, it's essential that you change your position, because you've got to be guided by the science and the current data," he said, referring to criticism that he said early last year that people should not wear masks before abruptly changing his recommendation. "That issue with masks is people want to fire me or put me in jail for what I've done—mainly follow the science."