16:37 GMT19 June 2021
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    The comments by US Representative Matt Gaetz come just days after two top House Republicans said it is "imperative" for President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci, to testify before congressional committees and provide information related to the origins of COVID-19.

    Florida Representative Matt Gaetz has lashed out at Dr Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the US president, saying the doctor had “blood on his hands” over the COVID-19 pandemic.

    "Fauci has blood on his hands, and now, the entire country knows it", Gaetz told former White House press secretary under President Donald Trump Sean Spicer, who now hosts the Spicer & Company show on Newsmax.

    "We know that the very type of research that erupted this virus onto the world was research that the US taxpayer was funding in part and that Dr Fauci and his friends were directly involved in", Gaetz claimed.

    Dr Fauci has faced increasing criticism lately over a $600,000 grant that went to the EcoHealth Alliance and ended up at a lab in China.

    However, the US COVID-19 tsar rejected the recent allegations that his National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases could have any responsibility for starting the COVID-19 pandemic.

    "Are you really saying that we are implicated because we gave a multi-billion dollar institution $120,000 a year for bat surveillance?" Fauci said earlier.

    The president’s chief medical adviser has been under growing pressure lately, after the emergence of more than 3,200 pages of what BuzzFeed said were the top doctor's emails dating back to the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

    In one of the emails, Peter Daszak, head of the EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit organisation with ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, reportedly thanked Fauci for downplaying the possibility that COVID-19 had escaped from a lab in Wuhan.

    Fauci, however, recently said that the revelations in the correspondence suggesting he was warned at the very outset of the pandemic that COVID-19 might have been “engineered” had been “taken out of context”.

    In March, the World Health Organisation released the full version of its report on the origins of the coronavirus, in which the WHO called a leak of COVID-19 from a laboratory very unlikely. The report also suggested that the virus was most likely transmitted to humans from bats via another animal.

    Recently, however, Biden ordered members of the US intelligence community to produce a report in 90 days to put an end to the debate over whether the coronavirus spread to humans from animals naturally or if it was leaked from a laboratory in China, and promised to release the report in full.

    Tags:
    Wuhan, China, US, COVID-19, Matt Gaetz, Anthony S. Fauci
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