‘Antithetical to Science’: Ex-CDC Director Takes Fauci to Task for Suppressing Lab-Leak Theory

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Former CDC director Robert Redfield testified Wednesday that Dr. Anthony Fauci’s suppression of the Covid-19 lab-leak theory was “antithetical to science.”

Redfield testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on Wednesday that he believed very early on that the virus looked engineered.

He said he had several calls with Fauci, WHO chief scientist Jeremy Farrar, and WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in which he “expressed as a clinical virologist that I felt it was not scientifically plausible that this virus went from a bat to humans and became one of the most infectious viruses that we have in humans.”

He posited that he was excluded from later calls with the trio “because it was told to me that they wanted a single narrative and that I obviously had a different point of view.”

The hearing comes days after the subcommittee revealed that Fauci “prompted” a scientific study in February 2020 that purported to debunk the lab-leak theory. A memo from the committee suggests “the authors of this paper skewed available evidence to achieve that goal, and Dr. Jeremy Farrar went uncredited despite significant involvement.” 

On February 1, Fauci held a call with several scientists to discuss the origins of the virus. During the call, a group of evolutionary virologists suggested that Covid may have stemmed from a lab accident and may have been genetically engineered, according to the memo.

Just three days later, four of the experts who attended that meeting wrote a paper, later published in Nature Medicine, that argued Covid had “mutations” that supported the explanation that it had been transmitted to humans from animals.

Asked Wednesday whether the authors of the study could have uncovered new information between February 1 and February 4, Redfield said he was excluded from those conversations.

“I do think it illustrates one point that’s worth really focusing on: when you have a group of people that decide there can only be one point of view, that’s problematic,” he said. “And I’ll keep on saying that’s antithetical to science and unfortunately that’s what they did.”

Redfield said in his opening remarks that his view from the “earliest days of the pandemic” was that both theories should be “aggressively and thoroughly examined.”

“Based on my initial analysis of the data, I came to believe and I still believe today that it indicates that COVID-19 more likely was the result of an accidental lab leak than a result of a natural spillover event,” he said. 

He stressed that understanding the origin of the virus is “critical to future science research, particularly as it affects ongoing ethical debate about gain-of-function research.”

“While many believe that gain-of-function research is critical to get ahead of viruses by developing vaccines, in this case I believe it was the exact opposite, unleashing a new virus to the world without an means of stopping it and resulting in the deaths of millions of people,” he said, calling for a moratorium on gain-of-function research until a broader debate on the issue can be held.

Asked whether Fauci used the paper to hide that the virus was created by gain-of-function research, Redfield said he could not speak to Fauci’s motivations, though he later said the paper was “inaccurate” and was “part of a narrative that they were creating.”

“Remember this pandemic did not start in January at the seafood market — we now know that there was infections all the way back into September,” he said. “This was a narrative that was decided that they were going to say this came from the wet market and they were going to do everything they could to support it to negate any discussion of the possibility that this came from a laboratory.”

Redfield later said there is “no doubt that [the National Institutes of Health] was funding gain-of-function research,” despite Fauci’s previous testimony under oath denying such funding.

Asked if it is likely that American taxpayers funded the gain-of-function research that created Covid-19, Redfield said: “I think it did, not only from NIH but from the State Department, [U.S. Agency for International Development] and from the Department of Defense.”

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