Newsweek: Fauci’s Virus Outfit Subsidized Wuhan Virus Lab. Famed Virus Fighter Backs Controversial Research
Written by R. Cort Kirkwood
At least some of the U.S. tax subsidies that went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology came from Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Newsweek magazine disclosed the subsidies early last week and reported that they paid for a controversial branch of virus research that creates virulent strains that could result in just what the world faces in SARS-CoV-2.
The revelation invites this question: Did Fauci’s operation help unleash the disease for which Fauci now purports to provide the cure?
Whatever the answer, most U.S. intelligence agencies say the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic began in a lab at the virology institute.
Your Tax Dollars at Work
“Just last year, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the organization led by Dr. Fauci, funded scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other institutions for work on gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses,” Newsweek reported.
Gain-of-function (GOF) researchers fiddle with viruses to explore their potential to cause a pandemic. One sort of GOF study even involves the “generation of viruses with properties that do not exist in nature,” a report at the National Center for Biotechnology Information says.
“In 2019, with the backing of NIAID, the National Institutes of Health committed $3.7 million over six years for research that included some gain-of-function work. The program followed another $3.7 million, 5-year project for collecting and studying bat coronaviruses, which ended in 2019, bringing the total to $7.4 million,” Newsweek reported.
According to public documents compiled by the White Coat Waste Project and shared with Fox News, The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been involved with research funded by $7.1 million worth of U.S. government grants from the National Institutes of Health as it has participated in projects in collaboration with U.S. institutions. One grant for research on bat coronaviruses has received $3.7 million and another grant involving injecting viruses into mice’s brains got $3.4 million.
Fox did not report the years those grants were made, but they nearly match the figures in Newsweek, which, again, linked Fauci’s virus institute to the virus lab where the pandemic apparently originated.
Unsurprisingly, Fauci hasn’t answered Newsweek’s inquiries, but NIH did:
Most emerging human viruses come from wildlife, and these represent a significant threat to public health and biosecurity in the US and globally, as demonstrated by the SARS epidemic of 2002-03, and the current COVID-19 pandemic…. Scientific research indicates that there is no evidence that suggests the virus was created in a laboratory.”
The NIH-subsidized research “consisted of two parts,” Newsweek reported.
The first part began in 2014 and involved surveillance of bat coronaviruses, and had a budget of $3.7 million. The program funded Shi Zheng-Li, a virologist at the Wuhan lab, and other researchers to investigate and catalogue bat coronaviruses in the wild. This part of the project was completed in 2019.
A second phase of the project, beginning that year, included additional surveillance work but also gain-of-function research for the purpose of understanding how bat coronaviruses could mutate to attack humans…. NIH canceled the project just this past Friday, April 24.
That project studied whether a virus might “jump from animals to humans, which requires that the virus be able to attach to receptors in the cells of humans. SARS-CoV-2, for instance, is adept at binding to the ACE2 receptor in human lungs and other organs.”
Fauci strongly supports GOF research, Newsweek reported. Contrary to experts who say the work is too dangerous, Fauci argues that it is “worth the risk it entailed because it enables scientists to make preparations, such as investigating possible anti-viral medications, that could be useful if and when a pandemic occurred.”
NIH shut down such research in 2014, then restarted it in 2017.
The NIH established a framework for determining how the research would go forward: scientists have to get approval from a panel of experts, who would decide whether the risks were justified.
The reviews were indeed conducted — but in secret, for which the NIH has drawn criticism. In early 2019, after a reporter for Science magazine discovered that the NIH had approved two influenza research projects that used gain of function methods, scientists who oppose this kind of research excoriated the NIH in an editorial in the Washington Post.
“We have serious doubts about whether these experiments should be conducted at all,” wrote Tom Inglesby of Johns Hopkins University and Marc Lipsitch of Harvard. “With deliberations kept behind closed doors, none of us will have the opportunity to understand how the government arrived at these decisions or to judge the rigor and integrity of that process.”
As for how SARS-CoV-2 pandemic began, Chinese officials tried to blame the outbreak on Wuhan’s filthy wet markets that retail bats, other exotic animals and even cats and dogs for human consumption, which would have taken the virus institute’s technicians, and their U.S. paymasters, off the hook.
But in mid-April, U.S. intelligence sources told Fox that the virus originated in a lab at the institute, where a technician working with the bat-borne pathogen contracted it, then spread it through Wuhan.
U.S. science diplomats worried that techs at the lab were improperly trained.
Tweeted Fox’s John Roberts on Saturday, “A Senior Intelligence Source tells me there is agreement among most of the 17 Intelligence agencies that COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan lab. The source stressed that the release is believed to be a MISTAKE, and was not intentional.”
R. Cort Kirkwood is a longtime contributor to The New American and a former newspaper editor.
Courtesy of The New American