EXCLUSIVE: Science Journal Editor Defends Fawning Emails to Fauci

EXCLUSIVE: Science Journal Editor Defends Fawning Emails to Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci in Washington on Dec. 9, 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

The editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals is defending fawning emails he sent to Dr. Anthony Fauci during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Science Editor-in-Chief Holden Thorp said in messages to Fauci from 2020 to 2022 that Fauci’s family was “the first family of science” and offered to print an op-ed about “whatever you want,” including “what it’s like to be” an action figure or a bobblehead.

“I know now that your focus is on trying to get your message out to the public about COVID, and we’re all deeply appreciative,” Thorp said in one email in October 2020. “I know you have a lot on your plate, but your legions of fans who read our journal every week would love to hear from you.

“It could be after the election and you can talk about whatever you want: thank scientists for all the work they’re doing, give words of reassurance, stress the importance of peer-reviewed publications during COVID, tell us what it’s like to be a bobble head and an action figure, etc. Totally up you.”

Thorp owns at least one Fauci bobblehead and has repeatedly praised Fauci on social media and in the magazine.

“I stand by my emails to Dr. Fauci,” Thorp told The Epoch Times via email, in responding to whether he felt the emails reflected badly on the magazine. “It is entirely appropriate for the EIC of Science to have collegial relationships with our authors.”

The emails were obtained by independent journalist Jimmy Tobias.

False Statements

Fauci was the head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser before he stepped down around the end of 2022. Fauci was a chief architect of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting harsh restrictions such as business closures and urging virtually all Americans to wear masks and get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Fauci has acknowledged lying about masks out of concern there would be a shortage early in the pandemic. He has also made other false statements.

Fauci falsely said on CBS in May 2021 that, after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, one would “become a dead end to the virus.”

“The randomized clinical trials did not evaluate whether the mRNA Covid vaccines prevents transmission,” Martin Kulldorff, a professor of health on leave from Harvard Medical School, told The Epoch Times via email. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines use messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology.

“The vaccine may reduce the spread of the virus, but vaccinated people can spread the virus, so Fauci did not tell the truth when he stated that vaccinated people ‘become a dead end to the virus,’” Kulldorff said.

Fauci has also claimed that the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), which includes the institute he headed, didn’t fund gain-of-function experiments at a laboratory in Wuhan, China, where the first COVID-19 cases appeared in 2019.

However, documents from the institutes show U.S.-funded experiments at the lab increased the function of a virus. Those experiments “clearly constituted gain-of-function,” Jonathan Latham, executive director of The Bioscience Research Project, told The Epoch Times previously.

Both Thorp and John Travis, Science’s managing news editor, disputed the facts.

“I disagree that Dr. Fauci was lying about the matters you mention; that is a misreading of how science works,” Thorp said. He declined to provide any citations or other evidence to support his position.

Holden Thorp, then-chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Oct. 12, 2012. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Holden Thorp, then-chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Oct. 12, 2012. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Op-Ed Published

Thorp followed up with Fauci after Biden took office, asking again for an editorial while praising him for his appearance in the White House briefing room.

“I join with all of science in expressing our joy in seeing you in the briefing room yesterday sharing scientific information unimpeded,” Thorp wrote. “Hallelujah!”

Fauci’s editorial ran in April 2021, after the 2020 election. It called the COVID-19 vaccines “a remarkable success.”

“The speed and efficiency with which these highly efficacious vaccines were developed and their potential for saving millions of lives are due to an extraordinary multidisciplinary effort involving basic, preclinical, and clinical science that had been underway—out of the spotlight—for decades before the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fauci wrote, detailing efforts to develop the mRNA technology prior to the pandemic.

Fauci has since acknowledged the COVID-19 vaccines don’t work well, writing in a different journal that “as variant SARS-CoV-2 strains have emerged, deficiencies in these vaccines reminiscent of influenza vaccines have become apparent.” SARS-CoV-2 causes COVID-19.
Like other mucosal respiratory viruses, Fauci added, COVID-19 hasn’t been “effectively controlled by vaccines.”

‘Won’t Make Your Lives Any Easier’

Thorp later messaged Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins, the head of NIH at the time, with an apologetic email about publishing a piece calling for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19. Fauci and Collins both promoted the theory that COVID-19 originated in nature, the former not disclosing he was involved with a paper that claimed to “clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.”

“Wanted to let you know we are running this letter tomorrow. I realize it won’t make your lives any easier, but given these authors, we felt we should run this,” Thorp wrote.

In reply, Collins said that the idea that the NIH supported gain-of-function research in China was misinformation.

“Thanks and agreed,” Thorp wrote. “I just wanted you to be aware of the letter in case the misinformation forces try to use it to create more confusion, which I worry they will.”

The primary recipient of an NIH grant, EcoHealth Alliance head Peter Daszak, said in an earlier message that the research was gain of function. The NIH sent money to the Wuhan lab through EcoHealth in a grant that was just renewed.
Thorp later penned an editorial titled “Thank you, Tony!” that summarized an interview Thorp conducted with Fauci as the doctor left his positions. Thorp didn’t ask about Fauci’s false statements or the funding controversy.
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]
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