By R. Cort Kirkwood
In a Senate hearing on potentially catastrophic gain-of-function research, top virus expert Richard Ebright repeated his claim that Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), lied to the U.S. Senate when he testified that the United States did not fund such research in Red China.
Called before the Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight, Ebright — director of the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University — was unequivocal. He not only said Fauci lied, but also questioned why federal authorities overlooked the obvious: The grantee that channeled U.S. subsidies to fund the research violated U.S. policy.
Gain-of-function research involves manipulating the genetic makeup of microbes to create super-pathogens. The China virus that went global two years ago might be such a pathogen, Ebright testified.
The claims from Fauci and others that the United States did not fund such research, he testified, are “demonstrably false.” Ebright said the same thing in a Twitter feed last year.
— Dylan Housman (@Dylan_Housman) August 3, 2022
In written testimony for the first-ever hearing on the perilous research, Ebright explained that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) was indeed performing gain-of-function experiments with U.S. tax dollars channeled through a sub-grantee called EcoHealth Alliance. The testimony contradicts the claims of Fauci, former NIH chieftain Francis Collins, and others.
“Gain-of-function research of concern involves the creation of new health threats — health threats that did not exist previously and that might not come to exist by natural means for tens, hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of years,” Ebright testified. He continued:
Most gain-of-function research of concern to date has been performed in the US with US funding or overseas with US funding.
“SARS-CoV-2 may have entered humans through US-funded gain-of-function research and lapses in US oversight of gain-of-function research,” Ebright said, adding that U.S.-funded research at WIV was, in fact, gain-of-function work covered by U.S. public policy.
Although federal policy strictly governs such research, the National Institutes of Health, NIAID’s parent agency, ignored that policy and permitted EcoHealth to get away with violating it.
“Although this research met the definition of selected gain-of-function research … that should trigger immediate cessation of work, and although the NIH was informed of project objectives and results,” Ebright explained, “the NIH failed to flag the project as being covered by the policy, failed to pause the project as required by the policy, and failed to stop the project as required by the Terms and Conditions of the grant.”
Then Ebright dropped his bomb in an answer to Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri:
The statements made on repeated occasions to the public, to the press and to policymakers by the NIAID director, Dr. Fauci, have been untruthful. I do not understand why those statements are being made because they are demonstrably false.
Documents Showed the Lie a Year Ago
Ebright’s testimony reprised what he said nearly a year ago.
Looking over grant documents obtained by The Intercept, as The New American reported, Ebright said that “assertions by the NIH Director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV are untruthful.”
The documents make it clear that assertions by the NIH Director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV are untruthful.
— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) September 7, 2021
That was September 2021.
In October, in a letter to GOP Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, Lawrence Tabak, principal deputy director of the National Institutes of Health, confessed that EcoHealth did indeed violate public policy and the terms of its grant.
The NIH received the relevant documents in 2018 and reviewed the documents in 2020 and again in 2021.
The NIH–specifically, Collins, Fauci, and Tabak–lied to Congress, lied to the press, and lied to the public. Knowingly. Willfully. Brazenly.
NIH corrects untruthful assertions by NIH Director Collins and NIAID Director Fauci that NIH had not funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan.
NIH states that EcoHealth Alliance violated Terms and Conditions of NIH grant AI110964. pic.twitter.com/cFOtJlRoWl
— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) October 20, 2021