Newly-released emails by the House Oversight and Reform Committee reveal the lengths that the top U.S. health officials went to in order to suppress the lab-leak theory of COVID-19 origin.
Emails to and from Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Francis Collins, former director of the National Institutes of Health, show that the two men were engaged in efforts to suppress the lab-leak theory and portray it as a “conspiracy.” Their concerns began after reputable scientists from a number of institutions began floating the idea that COVID-19 had originated in a lab setting in early 2020.
In June 2021, emails to Fauci from Dr. Kristian Andersen at the Scripps Research Institute and three of his colleagues were unearthed by a Freedom of Information Act request. In them, Andersen said that he and his colleagues, Dr. Edward C. Holmes of the University of Sydney, Dr. Robert F. Garry of Tulane University and Dr. Michael Farzan at Scripps, found that qualities of SARS-CoV-2 were “inconsistent” with natural evolution and that it was possible the virus originated in a lab.
That email was sent Jan. 31, 2020, and those experts echoed those sentiments at a teleconference the following day, Feb. 1, as Nicholas Wade reports for City Journal. Yet, just a few days later on Feb. 4, Andersen emailed Fauci to call the idea of a lab origin a “crackpot” theory that was “demonstrably” inaccurate.
Andersen then publicly campaigned with numerous colleagues against the lab-leak theory, including in an influential Nature Magazine article published in March 2020. (RELATED: The Top Six Revelations From Anthony Fauci’s Emails)
Now, the newly-released emails by the House Oversight Committee Republicans shed new light on actions taken by Fauci and Collins in 2020 to suppress the lab-leak theory.
One day after the Feb. 1 teleconference, Collins wrote in an email that the “voices of conspiracy will quickly dominate, doing great potential harm to science and international harmony.”
He called for a “swift convening of experts in a confidence inspiring framework” to put down the theory, and said that the World Health Organization was likely the only body that could do so.
Fauci, on the other hand, wrote that the lab-leak theory was a “shiny object that will go away in times.”
When momentum picked up behind the theory in the spring of 2020, Collins emailed to ask if there was “something NIH can do to help put down this very destructive conspiracy.”
He said that the Nature article authored by Andersen and company should have been enough to “settle this,” but that it didn’t get much visibility and NIH needed to do more. (RELATED: Rand Paul Grills Dr. Fauci For Trying To Suppress Lab-Leak Theory)
In an email to City Journal, Garry said that the scientists in question changed their tune on the lab-leak theory due to new scientific evidence, not political pressure. But as Dr. Richard Ebright of Rutgers University pointed out to Wade, Andersen and Garry both receive substantial grant money from the Fauci-led NIAID.
“The February 1, 2020, telecon sent a clear message to participants that Fauci and Collins regarded discussion of the lab leak possibility, even though plausible on scientific data, to be politically unacceptable and something that had to be blocked,”https://t.co/2auafJ6Gs7 pic.twitter.com/zdc0OiLBOh
— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) January 23, 2022
“Telecon participants with current and pending grants controlled by Fauci and Collins could not have missed or misunderstood the clear message,” said Ebright, a leading critic of gain-of-function research.
Fauci and Collins, contrary to Ebright, have been longstanding defenders of gain-of-function research and helped funnel money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology via grant to EcoHealth Alliance. Were it ever proven that COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan lab, their roles in potentially funding related research would come under even more intense scrutiny than it already has.