Skip to content

Newly Revealed Emails Show Associate Fauci Raises ‘Gain of Function’ at Wuhan Lab

Newly Revealed Emails Show Associate Fauci Raises ‘Gain of Function’ at Wuhan Lab

Two of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s subordinates raised concerns in May 2016 that a taxpayer-funded grant could include gain-of-function experiments on bat coronaviruses at a lab in Wuhan, but they dropped the issue after the disaffected group of profit EcoHealth Alliance played down the concerns, documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation show.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) staff members Jenny Greer and Erik Stemmy told EcoHealth in a May 28, 2016 letter that a proposed grant “may include” an of functional research, according to documents obtained through information from a white coat waste project. request

The letter asked EcoHealth to provide its own “determination” of whether its proposed experiments in Wuhan included gain-of-function research.

EcoHealth President Peter Daszak presented his “determination” to NIAID in a June 8, 2016 letter that downplayed the potential risks associated with his group’s research proposal in Wuhan, which involved creating of a chimeric coronavirus made in the lab, and denied that it involved gain-of-function. .

NIAID then gave Daszak a chance to submit an amended version of his letter on June 27, 2016, after discovering a factual error in the initial submission, the emails show. The agency then used Daszak’s revised letter, which kept the original submission date of June 8, as the basis for its own July 7 determination that EcoHealth’s research did not involve gain-of-function.

Rutgers University professor Richard Ebright told DCNF that NIAID’s May 28, 2016 letter to EcoHealth shows that Fauci was “false in his testimony to Congress” that NIH staff concluded above and down that the EcoHealth grant did not include gains in function. research

“The NIH, incredibly, accepted EcoHealth’s belief that this work would not be considered gain-of-function and accepted EcoHealth’s justification for that belief, and accepted EcoHealth’s proposal that it did not meet the policy for one [10 times] grant an increase in viral growth before stopping the work and reporting the results,” Ebright said.

“The NIH, in effect, delegated to EcoHealth Alliance the authority to determine whether or not its research was, or was not, a functional research gain subject to the funding pause, the authority to establish criteria for the determination and the authority to overturn federalism policies implemented by the White House in 2014-2017 and by HHS in 2017-present,” Ebright added.

Daszak’s June 8, 2016, letter to NIAID argued that EcoHealth’s proposed experiments in Wuhan were not gain-of-function in part because the WIV1 bat coronavirus they planned to use as the basis of their lab-made viruses “never proven to infect.” humans or cause human disease”.

But Daszak’s collaborator at UNC Chapel Hill, Ralph Baric, helped publish a study three months earlier in March 2016 that found WIV1 had the ability to infect humans. Baric’s study found that the WIV1 virus posed a “continuing threat” to humans because it “easily replicated efficiently in human airway cultures and in vivo, suggesting the capacity for direct transmission to humans.” .

Daszak also said in his June 8, 2016, letter to NIAID that he would stop experimenting and immediately notify the agency if the viruses created by the EcoHealth lab in Wuhan improved by more than one log, or tenfold , compared to the natural log used to build it.

Daszak later informed NIAID staff in a June 28, 2016 email that he was relying on Wuhan Institute of Virology researcher Shi Zhengli, who had known ties to the Chinese military, to notify li whether lab-created viruses showed enhanced replication.

“You are correct in identifying an error in our letter,” Daszak said in his email to an NIAID employee. “UNC has no oversight of the chimera work, which will be performed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

“We will clarify tonight with Professor Zhengli Shi exactly who will be notified if we see an improved replica, and then amend and resend the letter to you to make it clear. I will also confirm with Zhengli the composition of the Institutional Biosafety Committee of the Institute of Virology from Wuhan,” Daszak added. “However, I understand that I will be notified immediately, as [Principal Investigator]and that I can then notify NIAID.”

Fauci testified before the Senate in May that he has “no way of guaranteeing” that the Wuhan Institute of Virology did not use the $600,000 in taxpayer dollars he received from his agency to conduct profit-making experiments. function

“I have no account of what the Chinese may have done, and I am fully in favor of any further investigation into what happened in China,” Fauci told lawmakers. “However, I will repeat again, NIH and NIAID have categorically not funded the gain-of-function research that will be conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

NIAID staff eventually sided with Daszak, informing EcoHealth in a July 7, 2016, letter that its proposed experiments in Wuhan were not subject to the role’s funding pause.

“NIAID agrees that work proposed under Objective 3 to generate MERS- or SARS-like chimeric coronaviruses (CoVs) is not subject to the GoF funding pause,” the two staff members wrote in their letter in EcoHealth. NIAID staff added that the agency did not expect the chimeric viruses created in EcoHealth’s lab to exhibit enhanced pathogenicity in mammals, and that Daszak had promised to immediately stop all experiments and notify NIAID if EcoHealth created a virus in Wuhan with an enhanced virus growth in one log. .

Daszak emailed Greer four days later expressing his joy that NIAID was siding with his group.

“That’s awesome!” Daszak emailed Greer on July 11, 2016. “We are very pleased to hear that our Gain of Function research funding pause has been lifted.”

NIH Senior Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak told lawmakers in late October that Daszak did not keep his promise, saying EcoHealth did not immediately report that it created a laboratory-made SARS coronavirus in Wuhan using the WIV1 backbone that was more lethal and pathogenic for mice with humanized cells.

Despite Tabak’s letter, Fauci and the NIH maintain that the research they funded at the Wuhan Institute of Virology did not involve gain-of-function research.

Fauci and the NIH also maintain that it is “molecularly impossible” that the viruses that EcoHealth and the Wuhan Institute of Virology were playing with became the virus that causes COVID-19.

“When people talk about gain of function, they make this implication that I think is impermissible to make, to say, ‘Well, maybe this research led to SARS-CoV-2,'” Fauci told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on the Oct. “You can ask any bona fide virologist, and they will tell you, with absolute clarity, that this would be molecularly impossible.”

Letters between NIAID and EcoHealth discussing the potential benefit of functional research in Wuhan in 2016 were obtained by the White Coat Waste Project as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The letters were first alluded to by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and other top Republican lawmakers in an Oct. 27 letter to NIH Director Francis Collins.

McMorris Rodgers said NIH allowed committee staff to review the communications during a private in-person inspection at the Department of Health and Human Services headquarters, but declined to provide copies of the letters to the committee.

“EcoHealth portrayed the risks of these experiments as if they were not of concern, and the NIH accepted EcoHealth’s claims without conducting an investigation,” the Republican lawmakers told Collins. “However, the risk assessment by both EcoHealth and the NIH does not seem to match the understanding of the risks of the research at the time.”

“Although the viruses engineered in the WIV were far from SARS CoV-2 in the coronavirus family tree, this research reflected a high tolerance for risk,” the lawmakers said, adding that there is no evidence that EcoHealth take steps to notify the NIH that it created viruses that showed improved growth in humanized cells.

“If EcoHealth and NIH could not manage compliance and oversight of such a basic policy, it raises further concerns about the overall adequacy of oversight of this research, which leaves the public vulnerable to a serious laboratory accident,” they said. write the legislators.

NIH did not immediately return DCNF’s request for comment.

Post written by Andrew Kerr. Reprinted with permission from DCNF. Images via Becker News.

*” Indicates mandatory fields

This article contains comments that reflect the opinion of the author.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *