A columnist for the Washington Post admitted on Tuesday that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was correct in Tuesday’s heated back and forth between the senator and Dr. Anthony Fauci over the White House chief medical adviser’s denial of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“Hey guys,@RandPaul was right and Fauci was wrong. The NIH was funding gain of function research in Wuhan but NIH pretended it didn’t meet their ‘gain of function’ definition to avoid their own oversight mechanism,” Josh Rogin, a columnist for the Washington Post, said Tuesday.
“SorryNotSorry if that doesn’t fit your favorite narrative,” he added:
Hey guys, @RandPaul was right and Fauci was wrong. The NIH was funding gain of function research in Wuhan but NIH pretended it didn’t meet their “gain of function” definition to avoid their own oversight mechanism. SorryNotSorry if that doesn’t fit your favorite narrative.
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) July 20, 2021
Rogin’s remark followed a heated exchange between the Kentucky Republican and the Biden administration’s top medical adviser on the coronavirus, which saw Paul grilling Fauci over the denial that the NIH funded gain-of-function research in the Wuhan lab.
“And yet, gain-of-function research was done entirely in the Wuhan Institute … and was funded by the NIH,” Paul said, citing a Wuhan Virology paper entitled, “Discovery of a Rich Gene Pool of Bat SARS-Related Coronaviruses” and detailing the claims made in the paper. Paul went on:
In this paper … she credits the NIH and lists the actual number of the grant that she was given by the NIH. In this paper, she took two bat coronavirus genes, spiked genes, and combined them with a SARS-related backbone to create new viruses that are not found in nature.
He continued (emphasis added):
These lab-created viruses within to shown to replicate in humans. These experiments combine genetic information from different coronaviruses that infect animals but not humans to create novel artificial viruses able to infect human cells. Viruses that in nature only infect animals were manipulated in the Wuhan lab to gain-the-function of infecting humans. This research fits the definition of the research that the NIH said was subject to the pause in 2014 to 2017 — a pause in funding on gain-of-function. But the NIH failed to recognize this, defines in a way, and it never came under any scrutiny.
“Dr. Fauci knowing that it is a crime to lie to Congress, do you wish to retract your statement of May 11 where you claimed that the NIH never funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan?” Paul asked, prompting a sharp response from Fauci, who was visibly irritated by the Republican’s grilling.
“Senator Paul, I have never lied before the Congress and I do not retract that statement. This paper that you were referring to was judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain-0f-function — let me finish!” he said as Paul interjected.
“You take an animal virus and you increase this transmissibility to humans, you’re saying that’s not gain-of-function?” the senator asked, triggering Fauci further as he effectively denied their own definition of gain-of-function research.
“Yeah that is correct, and Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly. And I want to say that officially. You do not know what you are talking about,” Fauci quipped, to which Paul replied:
This is your definition that you guys wrote. It says that scientific research that increases the transmissibility among animals is gain-of-function. They took animal viruses that only occur in animals and they increase their transmissibility to humans. How you can say that is not gain-of-function?
“It is not,” Fauci said.
“It’s a dance, and you’re dancing around this because you’re trying to obscure responsibility for four million people dying around the world from a pandemic,” Paul added.
U.S. Senate Committee on Health
Indeed, in May, Fauci admitted the NIH funded the Wuhan lab but denied gain-of-function research despite describing it as “taking a virus that could infect humans and making it either more transmissible and/or pathogenic for humans” — as detailed in the paper Paul cited during Tuesday’s hearing.
According to the Daily Caller News Foundation, the “NIH subagency that awarded the grant to the nonprofit group EcoHealth Alliance to study Chinese bat coronaviruses opted against” running the grant through the Potential Pandemic Pathogens Control and Oversight (P3CO) committee, essentially sidestepping the safeguards for such research.