Fauci Never Going to Admit US Funded Gain-of-Function Research in China: Sen. Paul

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
November 2, 2021 Updated: November 11, 2021

Dr. Anthony Fauci is likely never going to acknowledge the National Institutes of Health (NIH) used taxpayer money to fund risky research in China, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Monday.

“Even the NIH admitted this week that basically they did merge viruses, and they became more dangerous,” Paul said. “That’s gain of function. They gained lethality. I don’t think Fauci is ever going to admit it.”

The NIH disclosed new information on its funding of experiments on bat coronaviruses and MERS in China last week. Experts said the disclosures showed the agency did fund gain-of-function research. Gain-of-function generally refers to increasing the pathogenicity and/or transmissibility of a virus.

One of the experiments resulted in a one log, or 10 times, growth in a modified virus, the NIH said.

Fauci, the head of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, defended the research, alleging it did not meet the definition of “gain-of-function research of concern.” That was a different claim than he made before Congress. While speaking to members earlier this year, he said the NIH had never funded any gain-of-function research in China.

Paul said the United States should stop U.S.-based risky experiments and end all funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where the research was performed.

“I introduced an amendment a month-and-a-half ago, and it passed unanimously, to stop all funding to the Wuhan lab. But it has not been signed by President [Joe] Biden yet and has not gone through the House. So, yes, this is a big problem. Money still flows to Wuhan,” he said.

“But, even worse, here’s the judgment of Dr. Fauci. He continues to say, when asked, should we be funding this research? He says, yes, that’s where the viruses are, we should be funding research in China. But he fails to address the question of whether or not the Chinese Communist Party, the generals in the lab, the military’s involvement in the lab, whether they’re to be trusted, and he fails to acknowledge that this could have come from the lab, and he continues to lie about the idea of whether gain-of-function research was going on,” he added.

Paul is part of a Senate panel set to question Fauci and other top U.S. health officials on Thursday. He was speaking on Fox Business.

Fauci’s agency has not responded to requests for comment on the matter.

Epoch Times Photo
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) asks questions during a congressional hearing at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 21, 2021. (Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images)

Dr. Francis Collins, Fauci’s boss, used similar language as Fauci during a television interview.

Researchers “did not do the kind of gain-of-function research that requires special, high-level oversight,” he said on CNN.

Both Collins and Fauci seemed to imply that there was gain-of-function done, but that none of the experiments met federal definitions that trigger an elevated level of oversight.

The NIH, presented with the implication, said that gain-of-function research is “done all the time.”

“For example, cancer immunotherapy, where a cancer patient is provided new cells that have been genetically or pharmacologically enhanced to ‘gain’ the function needed to attack the cancer. Most ‘gain of function’ research studies do not raise significant biosafety and biosecurity risks. So saying something is ‘gain of function’ alone doesn’t really mean anything,” a spokeswoman told The Epoch Times in an email, adding that the experiments were ruled not to need special oversight.

Not everybody was convinced, though.

“In Wuhan, research funded by NIH studied live MERS virus, an actual human pandemic pathogen, and live SARS-like coronaviruses from bats. These SARS coronaviruses were ones that the researchers believed to be potential pandemic pathogens,” Jonathan Latham, executive director of The Bioscience Research Project, told The Epoch Times in an email. “If Francis Collins thinks that such research does not require special oversight I do not know what research he thinks does require special oversight.”

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.