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Congressional investigators: Fauci commissioned and edited report he later used to downplay lab leak theory
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Congressional investigators: Fauci commissioned and edited report he later used to downplay lab leak theory

House Republicans highlighted in a Sunday memo that an impactful 2020 study suggesting that COVID-19 was not the result of a Chinese lab leak was commissioned and given final approval by retired National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.

This apparent effort to ignore "the science" and set the narrative about the origins of the virus took place just days after Fauci convened a conference call with other high-profile scientists. On the call, the scientists recognized the "very real possibility of accidental lab passage"; however, this recognition was greatly downplayed after the fact.

Fauci ultimately failed to note his involvement with the study when later citing it on the national stage to bolster his claim that it was unlikely the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology ⁠— thereby buttressing the Chinese Communist Party's denials.

Follow the science when convenient

Republicans on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic issued a memo over the weekend noting that Fauci, former National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, and several other scientists convened a conference call on Feb. 1, 2020, to discuss the virus and its origin.

TheBlaze previously reported on the unredacted correspondence between Fauci and those on the call, which revealed significant doubt about the possibility of natural origins.

For instance, ahead of the conference call, on Jan. 31, 2020, Danish evolutionary biologist and Scripps Research Institute immunology professor Kristian G. Andersen wrote to Fauci, "You have to look very closely at the genome to see features that are potentially engineered. … I should mention that after discussions earlier today, Eddie [Holmes], Bob [Garry], Mike [Farzan], and myself all find the genome to be inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory."

In a Feb. 2, 2020, email to Francis Collins, the former director of the National Institutes of Health, British medical researcher Jeremy Farrar attached comments provided by Michael Farzan, professor and chair at the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the Scripps Research Institute, and Bob Garry, professor of microbiology and immunology at the Tulane School of Medicine.

Farrar indicated that Farzan was "bothered by the furin site and has a hard time explaining that as an event outside the lab."

Farzan noted, as stated in Farrar's email, "A likely explanation could be something as simple as passaging SARS-like CoVs in tissue culture on human cell lines (under BSL-2) for an extended period time, accidentally creating a virus that would be primed for rapid transmission between humans via gain of furin site (from tissue culture) and adaptation to human ACE2 receptor via repeated passage."

Although they discussed possible scientific evidence to the contrary, three days after the conference call, four of the scientists authored a paper entitled "The Proximal Origins of SARS-CoV-2," concluding with newfound dogmatism, "We do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible."

The House Republicans' Sunday memo noted that a draft of this paper was sent to Fauci and Collins, then, ahead of its final publication, the paper was again sent to Fauci "for editing and approval."

The select subcommittee indicated that Fauci not only edited and approved the paper, but "prompted" its fabrication, claiming, "Dr. Fauci 'prompted' the drafting of a publication that would 'disprove' the lab leak theory."

The select subcommittee found that, despite having previously suggested otherwise, Andersen — among Fauci's cadre on the conference call and lead author on the paper — said in a Feb. 12, 2020, email to Nature, "There has been a lot of speculation, fear mongering, and conspiracies put forward in this space and we thought that bringing some clarity to this discussion might be of interest to Nature [sic]."

Andersen added, "Prompted by Jeremy Farrah [sic], Tony Fauci, and Francis Collins, Eddie Holmes, Andrew Rambaut, Bob Garry, Ian Lipkin, and myself have been working through much of the (primarily) genetic data to provide agnostic and scientifically informed hypothesis around the origins of the virus."

This allegedly skewed report "prompted" by Fauci was not only circulated in scientific circles, but on the national stage.

Running with the approved narrative

When asked during a White House press briefing on April 17, 2020, whether it was possible that the virus "came out of a laboratory in China," Fauci answered in the negative, citing the paper without bothering to note he had commissioned, edited, and approved it.

"There was a study recently that we can make available to you, where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there and the sequences in bats as they evolve. And the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human," said Fauci.

With the weight of this study in an esteemed journal behind him and his hand in its fabrication hidden, Fauci told CBS' "Face the Nation" in March 2020 that COVID-19 was an animal virus that jumped to a human.

Fauci later told National Geographic in May 2020 that notwithstanding the concerns privately expressed by other virologists, there was "no scientific evidence" to suggest the virus had come from the Wuhan lab.

It may have been more expedient for Fauci to push the zoonotic origin claim than face the possibility that the virus that killed over 1 million Americans and millions more worldwide leaked from a Chinese lab whose dangerous gain-of-function experiments on coronaviruses were admittedly funded by his own agency.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told a crowd at CPAC on March 2 that "[t]here has been no person who has done more to destroy trust in the scientific and medical community than Dr. Anthony Fauci, who told millions of Americans lies willingly, knowingly, glibly, and supremely arrogantly. ... In any sane system, he would be prosecuted for lying under oath, and he would go to jail for lying under oath to Congress."

Cruz added, "There should be accountability. Tony Fauci lied under oath. It’s not just that, he compelled and persuaded the FBI to censor information about the pandemic as it was unfolding."

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