Former National Institutes of Health chief Dr. Francis Collins and current National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases head Dr. Anthony Fauci have been accused of hiding the belief among many experts that COVID-19 did not occur naturally and was devised in a Chinese lab in Wuhan.
But now, a closer analysis of an email chain is providing new details — some say evidence — that both men worked to hid the origins of the virus and manipulate the public’s views about the pandemic.
Writing in The Washington Examiner, Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) notes:
In January 2020, the scientific world was startled with the breaking news of a novel coronavirus. Thanks to a brave Chinese scientist, the DNA sequence of this virus was released to the world.
Upon reviewing this genome, several of the world’s top virology experts sent emails to Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. These emails suggest that scientific leaders believed the virus possessed features that looked engineered — several even believing there was a more than a 50% chance it had originated in a laboratory.
Marshall went on to note that over the next couple of months, “something astonishing happened,” adding that many of the same federal grantees and scientists reversed themselves completely and said in a trio of ‘scientific’ articles that their professed theory wasn’t possible.
What changed, he asked, adding:
On Feb. 1, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins spearheaded a private, off-the-record teleconference with several of these scientists in an effort to influence them and reverse their opinion that “the genome is inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory” and may have been engineered in a laboratory. Six weeks later, a Nature Medicine article authored by some of these same scientists stated unequivocally that the novel coronavirus came from nature and a lab origin was out of the question. All the while, Collins, Fauci’s boss, encouraged Fauci in emails to squelch any ideas of a lab leak theory.
A second letter published Feb. 26 in the journal Emerging Microbes and Infections stated that there was “no credible evidence supporting claims of the laboratory engineering” of COVID-19.
But emails between two of the authors of that letter on Feb. 16 said, “We cannot rule out the possibility that it comes from a bat virus leaked out of a lab.” Notably, Marshall points out, since the publication of that article, both authors have received more than $15 million in federal tax dollars in research grants from both Collins and Fauci.
A third letter, which was published in the once-respected and non-politicized journal The Lancet in late February 2020 by 27 public health pros and scientists blasted “conspiracy theories suggesting COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.” Later, Marshall notes, reports showed that 26 of them had links to researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where the virus is believed to have originated.
Ten of the authors of the Lancet letter have close ties to EcoHealth Alliance, a U.S. nonprofit group spearheaded by Peter Daszak, which studies emerging infectious diseases utilizing taxpayer funds. The money comes from grants that the likes of Fauci and Collins provide, as well as the Department of Defense. Annual grant reports provide evidence that EcoHealth Alliance and its sub-awardee, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, were engaged in gain-of-function research, of which the NIH may not have been fully aware.
EcoHealth Alliance, the GOP senator points out, has come under fire recently for potentially violated an Obama administration ban on funding gain of function research, which is considered highly dangerous and risky. And yet, Marshall writes, “EcoHealth has a long-standing relationship with NIH and the DOD. In fact, it has received over $54 million in funding from these agencies since 2008, including a $7.5 million grant in 2020.”
Shortly after the Emerging Microbes and Infections article was published, Collins sent a suspicious email to Fauci: “Wondering if there is something NIH can do to help put down this very destructive conspiracy, with what seems to be growing momentum. I hoped the Nature Medicine article on the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 would settle this. But probably didn’t get much visibility. Anything more we can do? Ask the National Academy to weigh in?”
Marshall responds, “This email invites several questions. For one, were Collins and Fauci involved in the writing of this Nature Medicine article? And then why were the government’s top health officials so desperate to influence the media narrative surrounding the origin of COVID-19?”
He went on to admit that much of the nearly $500 million in research grants to the scientists in question were made before the pandemic, but adds that if they did not carry water for Collins and Fauci, it’s very likely those grants would have been rescinded or reduced.
“One need not believe there is an actual quid-pro-quo here to recognize that a conflict of interest arises,” he wrote, noting further:
When billions of taxpayer dollars remain in the brain trust of a few powerful bureaucrats for decades, conflicts of interest — both conscious and subconscious — can arise and cloud the vision, decisions, and scientific assessments of nearly anyone. Human nature dictates as much. Scientists have now gone on the record recounting concerns about backlash if they did not toe the line.
For certain, Collins and Fauci have some real explaining to do. Under oath, of course.