A newly released email sent in February 2020 to Drs. Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins shows top British and American scientists thought the lab-leak theory of the COVID-19 pandemic was likely.
But they didn’t want to openly consider the possibility because it might harm “science,” particularly its practice in China.
The email, early in the pandemic, came from Britain’s top health adviser at the time, Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, reported the Daily Telegraph of London.
Farrar wrote to Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Collins, then-director of the National Institutes of Health, that a “likely explanation” was that the SARS-CoV-2 virus escaped from a lab.
But Collins warned the British health chief that further debate could disrupt “international harmony,” And he feared it “would do unnecessary harm to science in general and science in China in particular.”
“I share your view that a swift convening of experts in a confidence-inspiring framework is needed or the voices of conspiracy will quickly dominate, doing great potential harm to science and international harmony,” Collins wrote.
The unredacted emails were secured by Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., who said they show that Fauci and other leading scientists took the lab-leak theory “much more seriously” than they stated in public.
The email transcriptions released Tuesday by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also indicate Fauci knew about the financial relationship between NIAID, NIH, EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was conducting dangerous “gain-of-function” research on bat coronaviruses.
The February 2020 emails show others scientists stating the belief that the novel coronavirus could not have evolved naturally.
One was Professor Mike Farzan of Scripps Research in La Jolla, California, who discovered how SARS-CoV-2 binds to human cells. In an email, Farrar summarized Farzan’s belief that it’s highly unlikely that the place on the virus that helps the spike protein enter human cells – called the furin cleavage site – developed in nature.
Another email shows Bob Garry, a researcher at the University of Texas, saying he “just can’t figure out how” the virus “gets accomplished in nature.”
It was in February 2020 when a Fauci-funded Wuhan lab collaborator Peter Daszak organized a letter published in the prestigious British journal The Lancet that cast anyone who entertained the lab-leak theory as a conspiracist.
Two months after the letter was published, Daszak emailed Fauci to thank him 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.”
“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 wrote April 18, 2020.
Last month, the lab-leak theory got a hearing in the British Parliament. Dr. Alina Chan, a postdoctoral fellow in gene therapy and cell engineering at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, told lawmakers the “most likely origin” was a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. She told the Science and Technology Select Committee that there is evidence the virus was genetically engineered.
Chan noted the unique furin cleavage site, saying that without it there would not be a pandemic. She pointed to a proposal for research involving the insertion of furin cleavage sites in coronaviruses from Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance, which had received millions in funding from Fauci’s NIAID.
“So, you find these scientists who said in early 2018 ‘I’m going to put horns on horses’ and at the end of 2019 a unicorn turns up in Wuhan city,” Chan told the parliament members.
Under Collins’ leadership, the NIH lifted a moratorium on gain-of-function research in 2017 that was implemented during the Obama administration due to concerns that the research could trigger an outbreak. In a 2012 paper, Fauci argued the benefits of gain-of-function research outweigh the risk of a pandemic.
Fauci is seen on video at a January 2018 NIAID Advisory Council meeting announcing the reinstatement of gain-of-function research and defending its use.
Meanwhile, the Telegraph’s report last September of a 2018 grant proposal by Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance to inoculate bats in China with coronavirus particles transmissible to humans was confirmed in a report to the Defense Department inspector general by a Marine Corps officer who served a fellowship at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that was revealed this week by Project Veritas.
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