Documents obtained by the Washington Examiner revealed that Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to criminally investigate Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden.
Paul has sent the criminal referral to Garland because he argues that Fauci lied to Congress when he said at a Senate testimony that the National Institutes of Health never funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Examiner reported Saturday.
“I write to urge the United States Department of Justice to open an investigation into testimony made to the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on May 11, 2021,” Paul’s letter to Garland, obtained by the Examiner, stated.
Paul had announced his intention to seek the criminal investigation on Tuesday.
On May 11, Paul and Fauci had a rough exchange where Paul questioned Fauci about whether he supported NIH funding of research at the advanced biology institute in Wuhan, China, which included, according to Paul, “gain of function” research.
Gain-of-function research is a type of medical research whereby scientists modify a disease-causing organism in a way that alters how the disease is developed, in a way that increases the transmissibility of the illness, and/or in a way that widens or shrinks the range of hosts for the disease.
To best understand what this kind of research is, consider a hypothetical virus A as one that affects only humans and dogs. To modify the hypothetical virus A to infect pigs in addition to humans and dogs would be considered a “gain of function” experiment because it, in this case, would be considered widening the disease’s range of hosts.
The trouble with such experiments is when the modified organism escapes the laboratory and thanks to its modifications, causes a widespread pandemic, causes more damage to the human body than naturally occurring variants of the mutated virus, or infects hosts that it naturally shouldn’t be infecting.
The Paul-Fauci clash is below:
In the hearing, Fauci vehemently denied that the NIH funded any “gain of function” research in Wuhan, despite Paul’s insistence.
“Sen. Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect,” Fauci said (about the 1:50 mark). “That the NIH has not ever, and does not now, fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
After the hearing, Paul told “Fox & Friends” that documented proof exists that demonstrates that Fauci’s division of the National Institute of Health — the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — doled out large sums of money in grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Kentucky senator, a physician himself, said there is evidence some of that money went into conducting gain-of-function research into bat coronaviruses.
On Tuesday, the duo had another heated exchange where Fauci, maintaining his denial that NIH supported gain-of-function research in Wuhan, told Paul, “Sen. Paul, you do not know what you are talking about.”
Paul had earlier asked Fauci in the Tuesday hearing if “you take an animal virus and increase its transmissibility to humans, you’re saying that it is not gain of function?”
“That is correct,” Fauci said. However, according to the NIH’s website increasing the “pathogenicity or transmissibility of potential pandemic pathogens” is defined as gain-of-function research, making it unclear how, according to Fauci, taking an animal virus and increasing its transmissibility is not gain-of-function research.
According to NIH’s RePORTER records, the agency has given out around $15.2 million to the nongovernmental research group EcoHealth Alliance, with $3.74 million of that amount going toward bat coronaviruses.
Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, has a long working relationship with the Wuhan lab’s so-called “bat lady,” virologist Shi Zhengli, who, according to Paul, has conducted gain-of-function research in Wuhan, the Examiner reported.
Paul said Shi received around $600,000 in NIH funding from Daszak, who was a member of the World Health Organization-China team that denied the lab leak hypothesis.
In the letter asking Garland for an investigation of Fauci, according to the Examiner, Paul reportedly wrote that a 2017 paper on Shi’s Wuhan lab experiments mentioned research “in which the spike genes from two uncharacterized bat SARS-related coronavirus strains, Rs4231 and Rs7327, were combined with the genomic backbone of another SARS-related coronavirus to create novel chimeric SARS-related viruses.”
“These experiments combined genetic information from different SARS-related coronaviruses and combined them to create novel, artificial viruses able to infect human cells,” Paul reportedly wrote, according to the Examiner.
Despite Fauci’s claims Paul wrote, “this research, conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and funded under NIAID Award R01AI110964, fits the definition of gain-of-function research.”
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