Politics

‘I Told You So’: Sen. Paul Hits Back At Critics After NIH Admits To Funding Gain-Of-Function Research

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Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul had a brief message Wednesday after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) admitted they did in fact fund gain-of-function research.

“‘I told you so’ doesn’t even begin to cover it here,” Paul tweeted Wednesday.

The NIH issued a correction admitting EcoHealth Alliance, which received a grant from the NIH, did violate the terms and conditions of the grant to fund gain-of-function research.

The NIH described an experiment conducted by EcoHealth Alliance that “was testing if spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model,” the letter reads. “All other aspects of the mice, including the immune system, remain unchanged.”

Several mice in the experiment infected with the “SHC014 WIV 1 bat coronavirus became sicker than those infected with the W1V1 bat coronavirus,” the letter dated Oct. 20 continues. “This was an unexpected result of the research, as opposed to something that the researchers set out to do.”

The letter explains how the the NIH reviewed the research prior to giving the funds and determined the research did not involve “enhanced pathogens of pandemic potential” because the bat viruses had not been shown to infect humans and therefore the research was not subject to departmental review.

Still, the NIH said they did include specific terms and conditions that outlined criteria for another review, such as requiring EcoHealth Alliance to report even just “one log increase in growth,” which would trigger a second review.

EcoHealth Alliance allegedly failed to report their findings as required by the grant, according to the letter.

The NIH claims the “published genomic data demonstrate that the bat coronaviruses studied under the NIH grant to EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. and subaward to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) are not and could not have become SARS-CoV-2.”

Paul has previously accused National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci of lying about gain-of-function research funding on behalf of the NIH.

“Dr. Fauci, as you are aware, it is a crime to lie to Congress,” Paul said during a July congressional hearing in regard to a grant that was rewarded by EcoHealth Alliance but not directly by the NIH. The grant was therefore not subject to review by the Potential Pandemic Pathogens Control and Oversight Framework within the Department of Health and Human Services.

The NIAID funded EcoHealth Alliance to study bat-based coronavirus in China, including a $600,000 transfer to the WIV.

Paul then said Fauci had denied NIH funding went toward gain-of-function research that had been done at the WIV. (RELATED: ‘How Else Do We Respond?’: Sen. Rand Paul Explains Why He Referred Fauci To DOJ)

“Viruses that in nature only infect animals were manipulated in the Wuhan Lab to gain the function of infecting humans. This research fits the definition of the research the NIH said was subject to the pause in 2014 and 2017, a pause in funding on gain of function. But the NIH failed to recognize this, defines it away, and it never came under any scrutiny,” Paul said.

Fauci then denied that certain research met the criteria to be considered gain-of-function.

“Sen. Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly and I want to say that officially. You do not know what you are talking about,” Fauci said.

Paul again accused Fauci of lying “dozens of times” during a September interview on “Hannity” while discussing a report from The Intercept about the NIH’s funding of gain-of-function research.

Paul said he thinks Fauci has tried to obscure the NIH’s possible involvement in funding gain-of-function research because “he was truly worried that this came from the lab.”