On June 1 (local time), Buzzfeed revealed that in the e-mails obtained by them through Freedom of Information Act request show Dr Anthony Fauci had demanded information on gain-of-function experiments from the underlings.
As per reports, on February 1, 2020, he sent a panicked e-mail to Hugh Auchincloss, Deputy Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). In that email, Fauci had asked Hugh to keep his cell phone on as he needed to talk to him regarding the paper and e-mail he had forwarded. The e-mail read,
It is essential that we speak this AM. Keep your cell phone on. I have a conference call at 7:45 am with Azar. It likely will be over by 8:45 am. Read this paper as well as the e-mail that I will forward to you now. You have tasks today that must be done.
In the academic paper attached to the e-mail titled “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence,” there was information on researchers in the United States and China were manipulating viruses to understand their shift from animals to humans.
The abstract of the paper states, “Using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone. The results indicate that group 2b viruses encoding the SHC014 spike in a wild-type backbone can efficiently use multiple orthologs of the SARS receptor human angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2), replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells, and achieve in vitro titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV.”
On the same day, Auchincloss had replied to Fauci and said that the paper he sent to discussed that the experiments were performed before the gain of function pause but had since been reviewed and approved by NIH. He further added, “Not sure what that means since Emily is sure that no coronavirus work has gone through P3 framework. She will try to determine if we have any distant ties to this work abroad.”
‘The features look engineered’
On the same day, Fauci received an e-mail from Kristian G. Andersen, professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research, in which he stated that the virus ‘potentially’ look engineered. He said, “The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome, so one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered.”
He further said that his peers (Eddie, Bob, and Mike) found that the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory. However, in a paper Kristian published in March 2020 titled “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2”, he had concluded that SARS2 was not a purposefully manipulated virus. In a tweet, he said, “As I have said many times, we seriously considered a lab leak a possibility. However, significant new data, extensive analyses, and many discussions led to the conclusions in our paper. What the e-mail shows are a clear example of the scientific process.”
As I have said many times, we seriously considered a lab leak a possibility.— Kristian G. Andersen (@K_G_Andersen) June 1, 2021
However, significant new data, extensive analyses, and many discussions led to the conclusions in our paper.
What the email shows, is a clear example of the scientific process.https://t.co/54pmeyTkV5 https://t.co/ckkgsu780X
What is Gain-of-Function research?
According to the National Institute for Health (NIH), Gain-of-Function (GOF) can be defined as research that involves experimentation that aims or is expected to increase the transmissibility and/or virulence of pathogens. In this kind of researches, the scientists aim to understand the pandemic-causing potential of certain viruses, by altering their structural proteins, decreasing their vulnerabilities and allowing changes in the viral genome that makes it ‘stronger and more dangerous’.
There is evidence that Dr Shi, one of the top virologists at Wuhan Institute of Virology, was working on Gain-of-Function experiments on coronaviruses she had found in bat caves. Further evidence suggests that the biosafety measures at Wuhan lab were not satisfactory. Also, the majority of the experiments done by Dr Shi were performed in BSL2 and BSL3 labs.
Dr Fauci’s involvement and complicity in the ‘gain of function’ experiments are now under scrutiny as reports emerge about the indirect NIH funding to the Wuhan lab, through Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance. Fauci and Daszak’s earlier attempts to vocally dismiss theories of ‘lab leak’ are also increasingly looking suspicious as more details emerge.
Recent reports have shed light on the ‘weaponisation’ research going on inside the WIV with Daszak’s help. Fauci’s old statements admitting that he was aware of the pandemic risk and several instances where the ‘conflict of interest’ of scientists have been hidden while making statements regarding the origin of the pandemic.