Peter Daszak, a leading scientist whose organisation had funded the coronavirus research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, had thanked Dr Anthony Fauci for downplaying the theory that the coronavirus may have leaked from a lab.
According to the reports, 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.
Peter Daszak, who was deeply involved both in Wuhan coronavirus research & in misleading the public about the likelihood of a lab leak, thanked Fauci for helping "dispel the myths" around COVID origins and blamed Fox News for targeting his grant. From the @JasonLeopold FOIA batch pic.twitter.com/LgloFVaFZX— Sarah Westwood (@sarahcwestwood) June 1, 2021
Dr. Anthony Fauci serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States, who is also the chief medical advisor to the Biden Administration currently. Fauci has been leading the USA’s response against the pandemic and has been instrumental in shaping government policy as well as influencing public opinion regarding the pandemic.
“I just wanted to say a personal thank you on behalf of our staff and collaborators, for publicly standing up and stating that the scientific evidence supports a natural origin for COVID-19 from a bat-to-human spillover, not a lab release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” read the letter written by Daszak to Fauci on April 18, 2020.
“From my perspective, your comments are brave, and coming from your trusted voice, will help dispel the myths being spun around the virus’s origins,” Daszak added in his letter. Fauci responded to Daszak’s email on April 19, writing “Many thanks for your kind note.”
In his letter, Daszak referred to comments put out by Fauci on April 17, when a reporter asked him to address concerns that the coronavirus could have leaked from a lab.
“There was a study recently…where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there and the sequences in bats as they evolve,” Fauci had said at the time dismissing Chinese lab origins of the virus. “The mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human,” he had opined.
Daszak’s organisation got a grant from NIH, has been vocally dismissing ‘lab origin’ allegations
Reportedly, Daszak’s organization, the EcoHealth Alliance, funneled $3.4 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study bat coronaviruses between 2014 and 2019. Some experts believe that the Covid-19 was originated in a lab in Wuhan, and WIV may have been the ground zero of the Chinese pandemic.
While politicians and scientists in the United States have suggested that the novel coronavirus initially leaked from the WIV before spreading across the globe, Peter Daszak had taken an objection and vehemently denied the allegation.
Daszak had published in Lancet calling ‘lab origin’ theories baseless, hidden conflict of interest
At the beginning of the pandemic, Daszak had published a letter in a leading medical journal Lancet, signed by several scientists, rejecting the idea of a lab accident based on little evidence. Daszak had also failed to disclose his conflict of interest when signing the letter.
Daszak had also been a part of the WHO team that had gone to Wuhan to study the origins of the pandemic and came up with ‘inconclusive’ reports. In a recently published report by former NYT science editor Nicholas Wade, it was reported that Daszak had not only funded ‘gain of function’ research into coronaviruses in Wuhan, but he had also even boasted in the past about how they have made coronavirus variants in the Wuhan lab that are resistant to existing antibodies and have no vaccines yet.
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.
In his email to Fauci, Daszak has blamed Fox News for targeting his coronavirus research as the media outlet was the first one to question regarding reports that an infected intern at the lab had spread the virus. It was one of the earliest high-profile mentions of the experiments Daszak’s group had facilitated at the Wuhan lab.
Fauci has since publicly shifted his tone, acknowledging in recent days that the virus may indeed have come from a lab. Until recently, Fauci said it is “highly likely” that the coronavirus has a natural origin. However, a few days back, Fauci finally admitted that he was “not convinced” that coronavirus developed naturally.