Addressing a Senate panel on Thursday, just one day after revealing he’d contract COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci returned to the claim that the virus began naturally.
The top infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health acknowledged the origin was “almost certainly” in Wuhan. However, he largely dismissed the popular theory that the coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
This is the same Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus sprang from and where laboratory studies of the virus were held.
In the early pandemic era, many scientists either believed or leaned towards the lab leak origin. However, Dr. Fauci and others worked diligently to clamp down on that idea. A chain of emails from Feb. 2020 show the effort to stifle the lab theory despite supporting evidence.
Because then-President Donald Trump believed this logical conclusion, it soon became trendy to dismiss it out of hand. Politicized by leftists as a conspiracy theory rooted in racism, opponents declared the narrative must be changed for the good of science and relations with China.
Of course, the World Health Organization announced early last year that the virus likely jumped directly from animals to humans. However, most dismissed that conclusion due to the powerful influence China had on the “study” and its lack of forthrightness.
Even WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus confessed to receiving a strong push from China to invalidate the lab leak theory.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) believes that the Wuhan lab, which received U.S. funds to conduct research, was possibly involved in “gain-of-function” research. This is when an organism gains new abilities and may develop in nature or through genetic or other laboratory manipulations.
Multiple U.S. scientists believe the work done in the Wuhan lab qualifies for this “gain-of-function” definition. One of the early researchers, Tulane Medical School microbiology professor Robert Garry, said he knew of no “plausible natural scenario” for the changes that made the virus deadly.
The tapering of the pandemic thankfully means hearing less from Dr. Fauci and his cohorts. The coronavirus narrative changed at a dizzying rate, and the absolute truth may never be known. But the obvious politicizing of the blame for its origin means legitimate questions will never go away.