Fauci Helped Hush Up COVID Lab Leak Questions After Securing Cash for Gain of Function Work: Docs
15:25 GMT 01.04.2022 (Updated: 15:52 GMT 01.04.2022)
Between 2020 and the summer of 2021, US government officials, media, and Internet companies dismissed, derided, or even censored attempts to present the coronavirus pandemic as anything other than a natural occurrence resulting from the virus jumping from an animal to humans at a Chinese wet market.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director and White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci was at the forefront of a quiet push to silence scientific research asking uncomfortable questions about the origins of SARS-CoV-2, new documents and email correspondence
obtained by Vanity Fair have revealed.
In the summer of 2021, biologist and virus evolution specialist Dr Jason Bloom sent
a preprint of a paper he had written on COVID’s possible origins to Fauci after discovering that genomic sequencing data which featured prominently in early Chinese research had “vanished without a trace” from the databases of the National Institutes of Health, a US government agency responsible for public health research.
The scientist discovered that the NIH’s scrubbing of the information ostensibly came after a “request” from researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and suspected that the deletion may have been part of an attempt by Chinese authorities to “surreptitiously” “hide evidence” about the virus’s spread.
Turning to Fauci and NIH chief Francis Collins on the matter, Bloom expressed hope that they could help him figure out what happened.
Two days after the scientist submitted his research to bioRxiv, a prominent preprint server for biology papers, Collins organised a Zoom meeting with Bloom, himself, Fauci, and four outside researchers. Bloom took down notes
of the meeting.
Recollecting the encounter, Bloom said that it became “extremely contentious” after he presented his findings. Biologist Kristian Andersen, invited to the meeting by Collins, called the paper “deeply troubling” and suggested that the NIH had no ethical right to stop materials from being deleted from its databases. He further argued that there was “nothing unusual” about the genetic sequencing information anyway, and that it was “not interesting”.
According to Bloom, the meeting then degenerated into a shouting match between Andersen and Rasmus Nielsen, a genetic biologist who joined the meeting at Bloom’s request, with Nielsen disagreeing with his colleague’s conclusions and saying that the sequences were “extremely puzzling and unusual”.
Fauci was said to have interjected to object to Bloom’s use of the word “surreptitiously” to describe the deletion of the genetic sequences, suggesting that the word was “loaded” and that “the reason they’d asked for the deletions was unknown”. Andersen recommended that Bloom delete his entire article or edit it “in a way that would leave no record that this had been done”. Fauci distanced himself from the latter suggestion. Andersen told his colleague that since the paper had “already [been] submitted…it’s better if you don’t pressure him to revise it”.
21 November 2021, 17:11 GMT
Sergei Pond, another evolutionary biologist who took part in the meeting, confirmed Bloom’s account, and offered him moral support in email correspondence. “Dear Jesse, despite the guilt trip that Kristian was trying to put you on (not 100% sure why), I think what you are doing is the correct scientific approach. Report what you find and don’t worry too much about political ramifications. Just wanted to offer my moral support as you face the inevitable sh*t-storm. Hopefully I was able to communicate some of my support on the call”, Pond wrote in an email.
A week after his preprint was posted, Bloom received an email from Science magazine reporter Jon Cohen, who informed him that “an anonymous source” had informed him of the NIH meeting and the suggestion that he had been advised to remove his paper from bioRxiv.
Bloom also reached out to National Library of Medicine director Steve Sherry to propose an extended search for “all deleted deep sequencing datasets” within NIH databases to discover what other information may have been removed.
Bloom’s interactions with Fauci and his colleagues appears to lend credence to long-held suspicions and a slew of reporting on the extent that the COVID response czar sought to dismiss or at least delay revelations about US funding for highly controversial gain of function research.
As has previously been reported
, Fauci’s agency, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gave pandemic research NGO EcoHealth Alliance a $3.7 million grant in 2014 entitled “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence” to pump up the deadliness and transmissibility of natural viruses, ostensibly to get a jump on the pathogens and find ways to combat them effectively before they materialise as threats.
EcoHealth president Peter Daszak is known to have funnelled nearly $600,000
of that money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, one of its key collaborators.
In the weeks and months following Sars-CoV-2’s emergence and spread, Daszak urged Fauci to shut down scientific debate and “present the lab leak hypothesis as a groundless and destructive conspiracy theory”, with this information revealed following the leak of Fauci’s emails
last year. In the spring of 2021, Daszak was also tapped to join
a World Health Organisation investigative team to travel to Wuhan to study COVID’s origins.
Fauci’s emails also revealed that privately, the official and his colleagues had doubts about the natural origins theory, with Andersen telling Fauci in a letter in January 2020 that “some of the features [of the virus] (potentially) look engineered”, and that “all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory”.
Fauci, Andersen and virologist Robert Garry, who was also in on the Bloom Zoom call, spent the following months “enshrining” the natural origin theory, with Fauci dismissing a call by then-CDC director Robert Redfield to give equal play to both the natural origin and lab leak hypotheses.
Throughout 2020 and into the spring of 2021, most media, officials and Internet giants like Google, Facebook, and Twitter aggressively pushed the natural origin theory while ignoring or censoring the lab leak hypothesis, which became favoured by Donald Trump and some of his staff, as well as many of his supporters. It would not be until the spring and summer of 2021, after Trump was out of office, that mainstream outlets like The New York Times
and The Wall Street Journal
began to admit that the idea that COVID may have leaked from a lab was not “a crackpot idea”, but a respectable scientific theory open to debate.
Other theories on the virus’ origins have since emerged, including a Chinese hypothesis that the pathogen may have emerged from Fort Detrick
– a top-secret Maryland-based military biological research facility, and spread to Wuhan during the 2019 World Army Games. Last month, the Russian military provided explosive new information revealing that the Pentagon engaged in bat and bird pathogen-related research at labs in Ukraine and Georgia on the eve of the pandemic.