Senator Rand Paul tried to tie the origins of the Coronavirus pandemic to Dr. Fauci and the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and Republican Senator Rand Paul were involved in a shouting match during a hearing on Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Dr. Fauci didn't mince his words after Rand Paul insinuated he was responsible for the death of around 4 million people all over the world because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Kentucky GOP Senator accused, without any basis, that the National Institutes of Health played a role in funding research that led to the origin of the pandemic, reported CNN. Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has been reserved during heated interactions with GOP members in the past but wasn't having any of it this time.
"Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly. And I want to say that officially," Fauci told Paul during the hearing after the GOP senator claimed that the NIH funded 'gain-of-function research' at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Gain-of-function is work that makes viruses become more infectious or virulent. The NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has funded research by the New York-based EcoHealth Alliance, which has collaborated with the Wuhan laboratory. Dr. Fauci, who's the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is likely to have overseen the grant process but Rand Paul was trying to tie the origins of the pandemic to Dr. Fauci, which the latter vehemently objected.
Rand Paul asked if Dr. Fauci wished to retract a statement made before the Congress on May 11 that the NIH did not fund any gain-of-function research. Paul claimed NIH was partly responsible for the pandemic by funding gain-of-function research. Dr. Fauci said the research "was judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain of function." He also doubled down on his earlier statement before Congress. "Senator Paul, I have never lied before the Congress, and I do not retract that statement," Fauci told Paul.
Despite Dr. Fauci rejecting the claim that NIH was in any way responsible for the origins of the pandemic, Paul continued to accuse him, saying, "You're dancing around this because you're trying to obscure responsibility for four million people dying around them from a pandemic." Dr. Fauci hit back at the Senator, saying, "I totally resent the lie that you are now propagating, senator. If you look at the viruses that were used in the experiments that were given in the annual reports that were published in the literature, it is molecularly impossible," and added, "You are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individuals. I totally resent that. If anybody is lying here senator, it is you."
Dr. Fauci wrapped up his testimony by saying Rand Paul was out of touch with reality. "I don't think I have anything further to say," said Fauci. "This is a pattern that Senator Paul has been doing now at multiple hearings based on no reality. He keeps talking about gain-of-function. This has been evaluated multiple times by qualified people to not fall under the gain-of-function definition. I have not lied before Congress. I have never lied, certainly not before Congress. Case closed," said Fauci.
Today Dr. Fauci told Rand Paul he was a liar at a Congressional hearing. Truth.— Scott Dworkin (@funder) July 20, 2021
Scientists and virologists who have been studying the origin of the pandemic have repeatedly stated that the gain of function explanation is unlikely, with evidence overwhelmingly pointing to a natural origin. Senior Biden administration officials overseeing an intelligence review also stated that the notion that the virus accidentally escaped from a lab in Wuhan was the least credible. NIH Director Francis Collins had earlier this year released a statement clarifying the accusation. "Neither NIH nor NIAID has ever approved any grant that would have supported 'gain-of-function' research on coronaviruses that would have increased their transmissibility or lethality for humans," said Collins, reported ABC News.
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