Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said his only regret over National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is the distraction they’ve caused.
Fauci’s comment came on an episode of “The Takeout” with CBS News’ Major Garrett released Thursday. Garrett asked Fauci if he had any regrets about the grants, which were used to fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab at the center of the lab-leak theory of COVID-19’s origin.
New Wuhan COVID docs ‘completely contradict Fauci’ on gain-of-function claims, ex-State Dept official says https://t.co/V76fyRMogL
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“Well the only regret is that, what it has caused right now, is such a degree of distraction of trying to do what we really should be doing, is addressing the outbreak,” Fauci said. “And what we did, and did quite successfully, was to develop vaccines that have now been lifesaving. That’s what the job of myself and my team and my institute is, and thankfully we did that very successfully.”
Fauci said that the grants from NIH were to fund surveillance in the environment to look for viruses that could potentially evolve to infect humans. However, the non-profit group EcoHealth Alliance, which funneled the grants from the NIH to the WIV, said in two reports that it had created three lab-generated chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses in China that had “significantly higher” viral loads in humanized mice. (RELATED: House Passes Amendment Defunding Wuhan-Linked Non-Profit)
Fauci has denied that the NIH grants were used to fund gain-of-function research. The NIH had a moratorium in place on funding the research between 2014 and 2017, but some experts and lawmakers have alleged that the NIH grants in question to EcoHealth violated that moratorium by funding research at the WIV.