White House senior medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has repeatedly ignored or omitted the fact that several cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) stemmed from lab leaks in his discussions of the presumed natural origins of COVID-19.
In a Thursday interview with the Financial Times, he listed SARS along with “MERS, Ebola, HIV, bird flu, the swine flu pandemic of 2009” as viruses that “jumped species.” Fauci also claimed during a July 2020 address to the American Urological Association that the virus “literally disappeared, because it had no place to go, no one to infect,” after cases peaked between March and June 2003.
He made a similar claim to the American Association for Cancer Research in August 2020. “By June and July of 2003, there were no cases [of SARS]. The virus was contained purely by public health measures [isolation and quarantine] without drugs and vaccines,” Fauci said.
Although initial SARS outbreaks have since been sourced to human consumption of civet cats in Guangzhou, China, Fauci ignored that multiple early 2000s SARS cases were traced to lab-leak incidents. Scientists in Singapore and Taiwan contracted SARS in 2003, with the Taiwanese researcher falling ill after mishandling lab equipment, according to the Taipei Times. Following those lab leaks, 25 individuals in Singapore and 10 in Taiwan had to quarantine. (RELATED: Did Coronavirus Come From A Lab? Ten Key Takeaways From A Shocking New Report)
SARS leaked from the Chinese Institute of Virology in Beijing twice in 2004. Two different researchers became ill with SARS in late April. They were not known to be in contact with each other, as one worked with genetic fragments of the virus, and the other did not work with SARS, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) investigation.
“I don’t think we’re ever going to get to ‘Aha! It was this day and this time,'” WHO investigator Julie Hall told Science Magazine at the time. However, she said, the investigation “raise[d] questions about the management structure and the training of staff.”
At least nine individuals became sick with SARS as a result of the Beijing lab leaks. Seven of the patients were located in Beijing, and two were in Anhui Province, more than 750 miles away from the Chinese Institute of Virology. One of the patients, the mother of one of the scientists, died from the virus.
Despite this history of lab leaks, Fauci has continued to downplay and flip-flop on the likelihood of a COVID-19 lab leak. During an April 18, 2020 press conference, he said that the virus was “totally consistent” with an animal to human origin.
He testified to Congress that he was “totally in favor of a full investigation” of the lab leak theory, before telling CBS News’ Weijia Jiang that he continues to believe a natural origin is “highly likely.”