A new memo from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic claims that Dr. Anthony Fauci was behind an influential paper aimed at “disproving” the lab leak theory of COVID-19 origin.
One of the authors of “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” wrote in February 2020 that Fauci “prompted” the decision to write Proximal Origin, according to new evidence released Sunday by the subcommittee. The new evidence aligns with previously-released Fauci emails, which indicate that the then-NIAID Director played an active role in internal debates about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.
New evidence suggests Dr. Fauci prompted the drafting of “Proximal Origins” to disprove the lab leak theory, the authors of this paper skewed available evidence to achieve that goal, and Dr. Jeremy Farrar went uncredited despite significant involvement.
— Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic (@COVIDSelect) March 5, 2023
“Prompted by Jeremy Farrah [sic], Tony Fauci and Francis Collins, Eddie Holmes, Andrew Rambaut, Bob Garry, Ian Lipkin and myself have been working through much of the (primarily) genetic data to provide agnostic and scientifically informed hypothesis around the origin of the virus,” Dr. Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research wrote in an email on Feb. 12, 2020. In a previously released email, Andersen wrote that the purpose of the group was “focused on trying to disprove any type of lab theory.”
Scripps had previously claimed that Fauci did not influence Andersen’s work on Proximal Origin, which was apparently a lie, according to the new evidence released by the subcommittee.
Fauci and Jeremy Farrar, who first posited many of the ideas regurgitated in Proximal Origin, are not listed as authors of the paper. But emails showed that Fauci held meetings with several of the authors in early 2020 and was also involved in email exchanges where then-NIH Director Francis Collins expressed a desire to stamp out the lab leak theory.
Fauci may have also been more involved in the development of Proximal Origin than previously known. According to the memo, drafts of Proximal Origin were sent to Fauci and Collins, and Fauci played some role in editing the paper. (RELATED: Johns Hopkins Doctor Details Money Flow That Allegedly Stifled COVID Lab Leak Inquires)
Proximal Origin became one of the most influential scientific papers published in recent years during the early stages of the pandemic, garnering thousands of citations from media outlets and other researchers seeking to disprove the lab leak theory. Fauci himself cited the paper from the White House podium months after it was published to downplay the idea that the pandemic originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), the memo notes.
Critics of certain scientists promoting the natural origins hypothesis, including Fauci, have noted the rapid change of tune from researchers like Andersen, who were initially more open to the idea of a lab leak before quickly planting their flags on the other side. The memo notes that Fauci held a call with a number of scientists, including Andersen, on Feb. 1, 2020, at which point there was substantial debate about where the virus had come from. Just three days later, Proximal Origin was first drafted.