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Trust science? Fauci and NIH chief say Biden never consulted them before spiking COVID origin probe

Biden on Wednesday announced that he had asked the U.S. intelligence community to "redouble their efforts" to reach a conclusion about the source of the SARS-Cov-2 virus.

Published: May 26, 2021 2:57pm

Updated: May 27, 2021 3:07pm

Top health experts at the U.S. Senate on Wednesday claimed that the Biden administration did not consult them before spiking a probe begun in the Trump administration into the potential origin of COVID-19 in a leak from a Chinese virological research institute, a possibility known as the lab-leak theory.

CNN reported this week that the Biden administration in the spring ended a Trump-era State Department investigation that sought to examine evidence for the lab-leak hypothesis, including what role, if any, the Chinese state bio-weapons program might have had in the origins of the SARS-Cov-2 virus. 

Biden on Wednesday revealed in a White House announcement that he had asked the U.S. intelligence community to "redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information" about the origins of the virus "that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion, and to report back to me in 90 days." Yet the Biden administration apparently axed the Trump administration probe in progress earlier this year without consultation with top U.S. disease experts, according to testimony in a Senate hearing Wednesday. 

Asked by Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy during the hearing if the Biden administration had consulted with him prior to spiking the probe, White House coronavirus adviser and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci replied: "They did not." 

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins also confirmed that he had not been consulted before the probe was dropped. "I read about it in the press this morning," he said. 

"They just spiked it without talking to their experts?" Kennedy asked. 

A growing chorus of experts and commentators have been pushing in recent weeks for a thorough investigation into what role a lab accident may or may not have played in the origins of the COVID-19 probe. 

The Wuhan Institute of Virology — a major coronavirus research center that for many years received funding sourced back to Fauci's NIAID — sits just a few miles from the site of what in late 2019 was declared to be the first outbreak of COVID-19.

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