Fauci is under fire from Congressional Republicans who point to his admission that the NIH has allocated $ 600,000 to the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study the possibility that bat coronaviruses could be transmitted to humans.
He told members of a House appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday that the money had been provided to the lab through the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance and funded a “modest collaboration with Chinese scientists. very respectable who were world experts on the coronavirus ”.
But Fauci categorically denied that the money was used for so-called “gain-of-function” research, which he described as “taking a virus that could infect humans and make it more transmissible and / or pathogenic to humans. humans.”
Fauci clashed with Sen. Rand Paul earlier this month when the Republican of Kentucky urged him on whether the federal agency he heads was helping fund ‘gain-of-office’ research at the lab. from Wuhan.
“Sen. Paul, with all due respect, you are completely, completely, and completely incorrect… the NIH has never funded and does not currently fund gain-of-office research at the Wuhan Institute, ”Fauci said during the May 11 hearing on Capitol Hill.
Paul began to say, “Government scientists like you who favor the gain function,” but Fauci interrupted, “I am not in favor of the gain-of-function research in China.
You say things that are not correct, ”Fauci said.
Representative Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) introduced the Fauci Incompetence Requires Early Dismissal Act around the same time, saying in a statement: “Dr. Fauci represents everything President Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell address: the scientific and technical elite who are running the country for their own ends. “
“Under Dr. Fauci’s leadership, Americans lost faith in the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, which led to confusion and serious government excesses that threatened livelihoods and freedoms. Americans, ”Davidson said in the statement.
Representative Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) Said this month he found out that the Obama administration had transferred $ 1.1 million to the Wuhan lab through the EcoHealth Alliance, also calling for the firing of the more great scientist.
Reschenthaler also said he was disturbed by Fauci’s mixed messages about wearing the mask and questionable reports on pandemic safety precautions and believes the doctor should step down.
“He was wrong, intentionally misleading and inconsistent throughout this pandemic. Here are a few examples of Fauci’s failures: claiming there was very little risk to Americans in January 2020, opposing President Trump’s travel ban to China, then giving him credit for saving lives, and mistakenly predict an explosion of cases in Texas after Gov. Abbott lifted the state. mask warrants, ”Reschenthaler told Fox News Tuesday.
“It is high time that Dr. Fauci stopped talking to the American public. Fauci is expected to resign or be fired immediately. “
Monday a A CBS News reporter tweeted that Fauci told him that his belief about the natural origin of COVID has not changed but that he supports a conclusive investigation.
“He thinks it’s ‘very likely’ that it happened naturally before it spread from animal to human. Since no one is 100% sure, it is open to further investigation, ”Weijia Jiang wrote on her Twitter account.
Fauci, one of President Biden’s top coronavirus advisers, speaking at a Poynter event over the weekend, was asked if he was convinced the coronavirus was developing naturally.
“No actually. I am not convinced. I think we should keep investigating what happened in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened, ”said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Humanities. allergies and infectious diseases, to the interviewer of “United Facts of America: A Fact-Checking Festival. “
“Certainly the people who investigated it say that it was probably the emergence of an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we have to find out. So, you know, that’s why I said that I am fully in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus, ”he continued.
It’s a change of tone from May 2020, when Fauci rejected the theory that the coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab.
“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what is out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning towards it could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated, ”Fauci told National Geographic in an interview at the time.
He added that he didn’t believe “in an alternate theory – that someone found the coronavirus in nature, brought it to a lab, and then it accidentally escaped. “
“Everything about the gradual evolution over time is a strong indication that [this virus] evolved in nature and then skipped species, ”the doctor said.
Chinese state media are reacting to Fauci’s pivot, claiming that he is now responsible for “rumors and slanders” against the Chinese Communist government.
“Fauci tried to convey the old and baseless account that the virus was leaked from a lab in Wuhan,” editor Hu Xijian wrote in the Global Times on Tuesday.
“Fauci says ambiguously, but he knows he’s stoking a huge lie against China. Rumors and slander against China can be seen all over the American media, and politicians lie about China with no net result, ”Hu continued in the opinion piece.
The article also noted the timing for Fauci’s comments and a Wall Street Journal report that three Wuhan lab workers were hospitalized in November 2019 with symptoms “consistent with both Covid-19 and seasonal illness. current ”.
The first reports of the coronavirus outbreak came from Wuhan in December 2019.
“This is a blatant lie, a conspiracy created by US intelligence agencies and the media to slander China, and China has denied it. Is it a coincidence that Fauci repeated such lines? Hu’s piece said.