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Senate witness cites Fauci for 'repeated demonstrably false' denials of gain-of-function research

Rutgers molecular biologist Richard Ebright has previously accused NIAID and NIH directors of lying to the public.

Published: August 3, 2022 4:47pm

Updated: August 3, 2022 7:33pm

In a Senate hearing on gain-of-function (GoF) research on viruses, which some scientists believe is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, longtime National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci came in for particular scorn.

Dr. Fauci has made "untruthful" statements on "repeated occasions to the public, to the press and to policymakers," Rutgers University molecular biologist Richard Ebright told the Senate Homeland Security Emerging Threats Subcommittee at a hearing Wednesday chaired by ranking member Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), according to the Daily Caller.

"I do not understand why those statements are being made because they are demonstrably false," Ebright continued, explaining that GoF research creates "new health threats ... that did not exist previously and that might not have come to exist by natural means for tens, hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of years."

At a May 2021 hearing of the Senate Health Committee, Fauci unequivocally denied a claim by Paul that the National Institutes of Health funded gain-of-function research at a Chinese lab widely suspected to be the source of SARS-CoV-2. NIH "has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology," Fauci declared. He further denied that University of North Carolina virologist Ralph Baric was doing GoF research, while at the same time allowing that if he was, "it is according to the guidelines and is being conducted in North Carolina, not in China.”

It's at least the second time Ebright has accused Fauci of lying, though previously he included Fauci in a group of lying officials.

NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak told the House Oversight Committee last fall that NIH-funded research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology using a modified bat coronavirus made mice "sicker" than the original virus, an "unexpected result of the research."

Ebright said at the time this showed Fauci and NIH Director Francis Collins made "untruthful assertions" about not funding GoF research. 

"The NIH received the relevant documents in 2018 and reviewed the documents in 2020 and again in 2021," his tweet stated. "The NIH — specifically, Collins, Fauci, and Tabak — lied to Congress, lied to the press, and lied to the public. Knowingly. Willfully. Brazenly."

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