Australian journalist Sharri Markson joins the War Room with another bombshell that further digs Fauci’s hole.
Markson – whose book ‘What Really Happened in Wuhan’ is scheduled to be published in September – claims that “multiple” Trump administration officials told her Fauci had not raised the issue of restarting funding for the virus research with senior White House staff.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “did not alert senior White House officials before lifting the ban on gain-of-function research in 2017,” Sharri Markson claimed in a report published on Friday.
“It kind of just got rammed through,” one former Trump administration official told Markson. “I think there’s truth in the narrative that the [National Security Council] staff, the president, the White House chief-of-staff, those people were in the dark that he was switching back on the research.”
Gain-of-function research, in which virologists experiment on pathogens in the lab to make them either more contagious or more fatal so as to help prevent a pandemic, is a highly controversial practice that was subject to a lengthy moratorium by the US government. It became a topic of widespread interest due to the origin theory of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, which says it may have been accidentally released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China.
If Fauci was responsible for pushing through the resumption of funding, that would directly contradict his own argument from a few years prior. In a 2012 article published in MBio, the journal of the American Society of Microbiology, Fauci said scientists alone should not decide on the fate of such research, which he described as risky but worth it.
While gain-of-function research is very important, Fauci argued, the researchers “can no longer be the only players in the discussion of whether certain experiments should be done.” The voluntary moratorium against such research – in effect at the time – is good and should continue, he argued, “until policy decisions could be articulated” with the help of global and national public opinion, experts, and public officials. Two years later, in 2014, the Obama administration officially imposed a moratorium on funding gain-of-function research.
Highlighting that article, Markson highlighted Fauci’s admission that gain-of-function research is risky, citing the example of a hypothetical case of a pandemic breaking out if a scientist doing the research became infected by accident.
“Scientists working in this field might say – as indeed I have said – that the benefits of such experiments and the resulting knowledge outweigh the risks,” he wrote.
On Friday, former Trump administration official David Asher told Fox News that the odds of a natural origin of the virus were “extremely long” and called the zoonotic explanation “ridiculous.” Asher was in charge of the State Department probe into the origins of the virus, which the Biden administration shut down in March. He said the WIV was “the epicenter [sic] of synthetic biology in the People’s Republic of China, and they were up to some very hairy stuff with synthetic biology and so-called gain-of-function techniques.”
Fauci has denied any wrongdoing. Earlier this month, he told the US Senate that the NIH “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” That appears to be only technically true, as the NIH grants actually go to a New York-based nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance – which then subcontracts some of its work to the WIV.