Fauci calls Senator Paul "entirely and completely incorrect"

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"Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect," responded Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology," he said.

Sen. Paul brought up what's known as "gain-of-function" research, a field focused on coaxing viruses to mutate and potentially increase transmissibility, alleging America was "juicing up" natural pathogens and sharing its findings with a laboratory in Wuhan, the city in China where the novel Coronavirus first emerged.

Some right-wing news outlets have promoted the unproven claim that the pandemic may have been sparked by an engineered pathogen either mistakenly or intentionally released from the Wuhan laboratory.

Sen. Paul has in the past tangled with Dr. Fauci in Senate hearings, where the Kentucky Republican has raised unproven ideas about herd immunity and the origins of the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Sen. Paul critcized American government scientists, accusing them of "fooling with Mother Nature here, you're allowing super-viruses to be created."

Fauci adamantly denied U.S. funds went toward gain-of-function research in Wuhan, "despite the fact that people tweet that."