By Michael Tennant
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Vindicated by an admission from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that it did indeed fund gain-of-function research on bat viruses in Wuhan, China, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) lambasted Dr. Anthony Fauci, accusing him of “parsing words” in congressional testimony to avoid the perception that he had anything to do with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Paul appeared on Fox News Primetime Thursday, one day after a letter from NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak to Representative James Comer (R-Ky.), ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, was made public. In that letter, Tabak confessed that NIH had provided a grant to EcoHealth Alliance, which, in turn, gave money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), for “testing if spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the ACE2 receptor in a mouse model.”

The experiments showed that the mice “became sicker” when infected with the modified virus, but “this was an unexpected result of the research, as opposed to something the researchers set out to do,” penned Tabak.

“While never using the term, Tabak essentially confirms that gain of function research, which looks at both transmitting disease between animals and humans and is a way for scientists to alter organisms and diseases to study how they could become deadlier or more transmissible, took place at the Chinese lab despite consistent denials from Dr. Fauci,” wrote the Daily Mail.

Paul wasted little time in making his displeasure known, tweeting, “‘I told you so’ doesn’t even begin to cover it here,” Wednesday night.

On Fox News Primetime, Paul criticized the NIH for continuing its obfuscation. “They still to this day are trying to get around the truth,” he said. “They say, ‘Well, it was unexpected that it gained function.’”

Fauci, of course, has maintained all along that the NIH never funded gain-of-function experiments in China. The NIH “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” he told the Senate Appropriations Committee in May, adding that while he couldn’t guarantee the WIV wasn’t engaged in such research, “they are very competent, trustworthy scientists.” When, in a July hearing, Paul asked Fauci if he wanted to retract that statement because “it is a crime to lie to Congress,” Fauci insisted he wasn’t lying and instead suggested that Paul was.

Moreover, while Tabak tried to shift the blame to EcoHealth Alliance, which allegedly did not keep the NIH informed about what it was up to, “the NIH received the relevant documents in 2018 and reviewed the documents in 2020 and again in 2021,” observed Richard Ebright of Rutgers University’s Waksman Institute of Microbiology.

“The NIH — specifically, [Director Francis] Collins, Fauci, and Tabak — lied to Congress, lied to the press, and lied to the public,” he continued. “Knowingly. Willfully. Brazenly.”

Paul told Fox News that Fauci has been intentionally “never fully explain[ing] why [the experiments] are not gain-of-function. His declination is this: it’s inadvertent, we didn’t know they were going to gain function. That is what a gain-of-function experiment is. You don’t know when you combine two viruses that they will be more deadly, but … if you have half a brain, you know if you combine two viruses it might be more deadly.”

“He’s been parsing words,” Paul added.

Will Fauci or any of his colleagues be held to account for their blatant lies? Paul isn’t so sure. Although in July he sent a criminal referral of Fauci to the Justice Department for lying to Congress, the senator told Fox News “that he is not expecting much given the inordinate resources being allocated by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to ‘go after moms complaining about what they are teaching in school.’”

But, he said, Garland should prosecute Fauci if only to protect doctors who are being threatened for researching or prescribing non-Fauci-approved COVID-19 treatments. “This top-down centralization of medical authority, it’s not good for our country and it’s not good for innovation.”

Besides, as he also pointed out, something needs to be done to stop gain-of-function experiments. “This is a civilization-ending kind of research,” he said. “This research could release something that could destroy civilization.”

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