Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Home News Reports Anthony Fauci had argued that 'gain-of-function' virus experiments were worth the risk of a...

Anthony Fauci had argued that ‘gain-of-function’ virus experiments were worth the risk of a pandemic: Report

An investigation carried out by The Australian has also confirmed that Dr Fauci, the director of the Nat­ional Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, failed to alert senior White House officials before lifting the ban on such "gain-of-function" research in 2017.

In a sensational disclosure, it has been revealed that Dr Anthony Fauci, the top medical advisor to the United States, had strongly supported experimenting on contagious viruses and believed that manipulating and heightening their infectious potency weighed more than the risk of a laboratory accident sparking a pandemic, reports The Australian.

According to the reports, Dr Fauci had previously supported the contentious experiments calling them “important work,” despite apprehensions that such experiments may cause risks of lab leaks and lead to a major public health crisis, just as it is alleged to have happened in the case of Covid-19.

An investigation carried out by The Weekend Australian has also confirmed Dr Fauci, the director of the Nat­ional Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, failed to alert senior White House officials before lifting the ban on such “gain-of-function” research in 2017.

Wuhan lab was conducting research to enhance the ability of coronavirus with US funds: Reports

A multinational group of 15 scientists working at the Wuhan Institute had received $600,000 of US public funds between 2015 and 2020 to investigate whether coronaviruses posed a risk to humans. The National Institutes of Health, under which the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases functions, had reportedly funded coronavirus experiments in Wuhan, China, in the years leading up to the pandemic. 

In his research paper written in the American Society for Microbiology in October 2012, Dr Fauci had acknowledged the controversial scientific research could spark a pandemic.

“In an unlikely but conceivable turn of events, what if that scientist becomes infected with the virus, which leads to an outbreak and ultimately triggers a pandemic?” he wrote.

Continuing, Fauci had stated, “Many ask reasonable questions: given the possibility of such a scenario – however remote – should the initial experiments have been performed and/or published in the first place, and what were the processes involved in this decision? 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.”

Further, defending such experiments, Fauci had written saying that it was more likely that a pandemic would occur in nature, and the need to stay ahead of such a threat is a primary reason for performing an experiment that might appear to be risky.

In the paper, Dr. Fauci also wrote, “Within the research community, many have expressed concern that important research progress could come to a halt just because of the fear that someone, somewhere, might attempt to replicate these experiments sloppily. This is a valid concern.”

The “gain-of-function” experiments, often carried out on bat-derived coronaviruses, revolves around manipulating, splicing, and recombining viruses to potentially obtain strains of highly infectious pathogens resistant to current treatment methods.

However, this type of research carries the risk of causing a pandemic. In 2014, realizing the danger, the Obama administration had seized all the funding for such ‘gain-of-­function experiments’ in 22 fields, including those involving SARS, influenza, and MERS.

Virologists need to respect genuine concerns: wrote Dr Fauci

In his paper, Dr. Fauci also wrote that virologists needed to respect that there are genuine and legitimate concerns about this type of research, both domestically and globally.

“Putting aside the specter of bioterrorism for the moment, consider this hypothetical scenario: an important gain-of-function experiment involving a virus with serious pandemic potential is performed in a well-regulated, world-class laboratory by experienced investigators, but the information from the experiment is then used by another scientist who does not have the same training and facilities and is not subject to the same regulations,” he wrote.

“We cannot expect those who have these concerns to simply take us, the scientific community, at our word that the benefits of this work outweigh the risks, nor can we ignore their calls for greater transparency, their concerns about conflicts of interest, and their efforts to engage in a dialogue about whether these experiments should have been performed in the first place,” Dr Fauci wrote.

Dr Fauci had added, “Those of us in the scientific community who believe in the merits of this work have the responsibility to address these concerns thoughtfully and respectfully.”

“If we want to continue this important work, we collectively need to do a better job of articulating the scientific rationale for such experiments well before they are performed and provide discussion about the potential risk to public health, however remote,” he wrote in 2012.

Experts had opposed such experiments

In 2014, two years after Dr Fauci’s paper, prominent scientists, including the Cambridge Working Group of 200 researchers, had issued a public warning against funding such ‘gain of function’ research.

“Accident risks with newly created ‘potential pandemic pathogens’ raise grave new concerns,” the group’s letter read, adding that laboratory creation of highly transmissible, novel strains of dangerous viruses, especially but not limited to influenza, poses substantially increased risks.

The letter read, “An accidental infection in such a setting could trigger outbreaks that would be difficult or impossible to control. Historically, new strains of influenza, once they establish transmission in the human population, have infected a quarter or more of the world’s population within two years.”

In 2015, Steven Salzberg of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine said the benefits of gain-of-function research were “minimal at best” and can be achieved far more safely through other avenues of research.

“I am very concerned that the continuing gain-of-function research on influenza viruses, and more recently on other viruses, present extremely serious risks to the public health,” he wrote.

Dr Fauci had resumed his coronavirus research, kept Trump administration in dark

In December 2017, the National Institute of Health, of which the NIAID is a part, announced that it would resume funding the “gain-of-function” research in Wuhan Institute of Virology.

However, the NIH did not communicate the same to the Trump administration and instead kept the administration in the dark. Officials who worked in the Trump administration have disclosed that Dr Fauci had not raised the issue of restarting the research funding with senior figures in the White House.

“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,” said an official.

Neither Mike Pompeo, the then director of the Central Intelligence Agency nor National Security Council member Matthew Pottinger were briefed by Dr. Fauci and his team concerning the resumption of “gain-of-function” experiments in Wuhan, as per the report in The Australian.

Fauci’s role in funding dangerous experiments in China under scrutiny

Dr Fauci, who has led the US response to the outbreak, is currently facing serious questions about his role in funding the radical experiments that were being conducted inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Until recently, Fauci said it is “highly likely” that the coronavirus has a natural origin. Fauci has since publicly shifted his tone, acknowledging in recent days that the virus may indeed have come from a lab.

On May 11, Fauci reversed his position on whether Covid-19 had leaked from the WIV and said he was now “not convinced” the virus had developed naturally and authorities needed to find out “exactly what happened.”

Meanwhile, the NIH has also come under significant criticism in recent weeks over funding WIV research relating to such “gain-on-function” experiments. Dr Fauci had denied carrying out such research inside WIV. Earlier this month, he told a US Senate hearing that the NIH “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the WIV.”

However, research papers that were published last year in American peer-­reviewed academic journals, written by the likes of prominent virologist Shi Zhengli, had disclosed that work on coronaviruses had been funded by at least three NIH grants.

At the time of Dr. Fauci’s research paper, there was a voluntary ban on “gain-of-function” research related to highly infectious influenza ­viruses. He had also asked what would happen if the experiments were conducted by the lab not subject to adequate safety regulations.

Earlier, it was revealed that Peter Daszak, a leading scientist whose organization EcoHealth Alliance had funded the coronavirus research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, had thanked Dr Anthony Fauci for downplaying the theory the coronavirus may have leaked from a lab.

Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth Alliance, a research group that secured a grant to perform coronavirus research in Wuhan before the pandemic, had written a mail to Dr Fauci to say a “personal thank you” on behalf of his staff and collaborators after the latter had dismissed the idea that the pandemic started due to a lab accident in Wuhan.

The exchange between Daszak and Fauci was part of more than 3,200 pages of Fauci’s emails that media outlets obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and posted online on Tuesday.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

As Yogi Sarkar lodges FIR against Twitter, 8 others, Alt News co-founder Zubair deletes fake hate crime video: Details

The UP Govt has initiated action against Twitter for failing to take down tweets that spread misinformation about a crime in the state.

Yogi Adityanath slams Rahul Gandhi for spreading fake news, tells him to stop defaming UP citizens: Here’s what he said

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has slammed former Congress president Rahul Gandhi for spreading fake news.

Government debunks propaganda article published in The Hindu on the surge in FDI inflows for 2020-21: Details

GoI has debunked the propaganda article published in The Hindu on 2 June 2021 over the surge in FDI inflows

British Pakistani rapper Frenzo Harami spews venom on Hindus. Here is what we know about him

Pakistan-born British rapper, who used to sell drugs before becoming a rapper, spoke the language of terrorists, used Gaumutra jibe

Rahul Gandhi shares fake news related to Lord Ram, twice in two days. This is what it shows

What made Rahul Gandhi share a fake news about 'Jai Shri Ram' chant even though Police had debunked the claims?

Big Liberals, small hearts: By donating 80 vials of vaccine, America has proved to be the poorest country in the world

Do you remember when Western media and their native sepoys flew drones over cremation grounds in India? They are quiet now

Recently Popular

Here is the truth about the land deal by Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra and how the allegations by likes of AAP are baseless

Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra and its head Champat Rai bought an additional piece of land for the purposes of additional construction to facilitate pilgrims who would be travelling to Ayodhya

Kamal R Khan calls Mika Singh ‘anpadh gawar sooar’ after the singer released a diss track titled ‘KRK Kutta’: Here is how the feud...

The feud between KRK and Mika Singh descends to calling each other ‘dogs’ and ‘pigs’, here how it unfolded

Nikhil Kamath disregarded Viswanathan Anand’s request to not use his name in public communication after cheating, says grandmaster’s wife

Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath recently apologised for using unfair means to defeat Chess grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand

Young billionaire Nikhil Kamath’s account closed by Chess.com as he admits cheating in charity game to defeat Vishwanathan Anand

Nikhil Kamath created quite the flutter recently after he apparently defeated Vishwanathan Anand in a game of chess.

Rohingyas settled all over UP with forged Aadhaar, voter IDs, fresh arrests reveal they are getting financial aid too: Report

ADG informed that the Rohingyas have settled in every assembly constituency with forged voter ID cards.

60-year-old woman gang-raped in front of her grandson: More horror stories emerge from Bengal as women speak up in SC

Women in West Bengal have moved the Supreme Court narrating the details of the horrifying gang-rapes they were subjected to in the post-poll violence by the members of ruling party.
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

255,564FansLike
553,365FollowersFollow
24,300SubscribersSubscribe