America’s coronavirus tsar, Dr. Anthony Fauci, silenced any discussion about COVID being caused by a lab leak – and not through animal-to-human transmission – after helping a controversial scientist get millions in federal funding to study bats, a Vanity Fair investigation has revealed.
Analyzing more than 100,000 leaked documents, the magazine claimed that Fauci’s approval of Peter Daszak helped his nonprofit, EcoHealth Alliance, an organization dedicated to shielding society from emerging infectious diseases, to develop the COVID-19 virus in a laboratory in China.
They also claim researchers associated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, including Daszak, tried to hide evidence about the pandemic’s early spread as lab leak hypotheses began to emerge.
While the report is not conclusive in how the pandemic was started, the magazine provides evidence that Daszak was aware the gain-of-function research his organization conducted was ‘risky’ and that he neglected to provide transparency about his projects to the U.S. government, as promised.
More than two years into the global pandemic, investigators are still trying to trace the origin of the COVID-19 virus that has killed more than 22 million people worldwide.
Some allege that Fauci, whose agency in 2014 issued a $3.7million grant to EcoHealth Alliance, directly contributed to the pandemic spread by providing funds that were used to support gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
EcoHealth issued WIV nearly $600,000 in sub-awards before the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suspended the grant in July 2020 due its controversial work, Vanity Fair reported.
The magazine – which reviewed more than 100,000 internal EcoHealth documents predating the pandemic, interviewed five former staff members and spoke to 33 other sources – claims that while the organization’s paper trail doesn’t specifically state where COVID came from, it shows how the nonprofit operated under ‘murky grant agreements, flimsy oversight, and the pursuit of government funds for scientific advancement, in part by pitching research of steeply escalating risk.’
There are multiple theories surrounding the berth of COVID with natural-origin proponents arguing the virus jumped from a bat host to an intermediate species and then infected humans.
Others suspected a lab-related incident from the ‘inadvertent exposure of a scientist during field research to the accidental release of a natural or manipulated strain during laboratory work,’ the magazine claimed.
There is reportedly a ‘lack of concrete evidence’ to support either theory, prompting journalists, scientists and other sleuths to place scrutiny on Daszak, EcoHealth, and WIV researchers for the work in the lab, as well as Fauci for indirectly supplying U.S. government funds to the facility.
In June 2021, biologist Jesse D. Bloom – whom colleagues allege wanted to ‘dig deep and discover the truth’ about how COVID evolved – confronted Fauci by providing him with a preprint of a paper he was seeking to have peer reviewed and published.
Bloom’s paper, which was obtained by Vanity Fair, detailed how a early genomic sequences of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, had ‘somehow vanished without a trace’.
The biologist claims the genomic sequences were initially published in a Chinese paper but had since been deleted from NIH databases at the ‘request of researchers in Wuhan’.
Bloom, alleging the deleted genomic sequences could be ‘key to tracking when the virus emerged and how it might have evolved,’ believed the disappearance of the sequences ‘raised the possibility’ that the Chinese government was trying to cover-up evidence about the early spread of COVID.
After receiving the preprint of Bloom’s paper, Fauci and his boss, NIH director Francis Collins, allegedly organized a Zoom meeting with the biologist to discuss his findings.
Four additional scientists, biologist Kristian Andersen and virologist Robert Garry, who were invited by the NIH, and biologists Sergei Pond and Rasmus Nielsen, who were invited by Bloom, attended the call.
After he presented his research, Bloom claims Andersen interjected, claiming his preprint was ‘deeply troubling.’
Andersen reportedly told the research that NIH policy entitled the Chinese scientists to delete their sequences from the database if they wanted to so and that it was ‘was unethical for Bloom to analyze them further.
He also allegedly claimed ‘there was nothing unusual about the early genomic sequences in Wuhan,’ prompting a heated argument between Andersen and Nielsen.
‘Fauci then weighed in, objecting to the preprint’s description of Chinese scientists “surreptitiously” deleting the sequences,’ Vanity Fair stated, claiming the immunologist said: ‘The word was loaded and the reason they’d asked for the deletions was unknown.’
As more scientists called for transparency about the origin of the virus, Daszak sought to ‘present the lab-leak hypothesis as a groundless and destructive conspiracy theory’.
Similarly, Fauci, Andersen, Garry and a small group of scientists reportedly held confidential discussions, dating back to February 2020, working to ‘enshrine the natural-origin theory’ despite the fact that ‘several of them privately expressed that they felt a lab-related incident was likelier.’
Around that time, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield allegedly urged Fauci to ‘vigorously investigate’ both hypotheses.
‘We had to take the lab-leak hypothesis with extreme seriousness,’ he told the magazine, adding: ‘I personally felt it wasn’t biologically plausible that [SARS CoV-2] went from bats to humans through an [intermediate] animal and became one of the most infectious viruses to humans.’
Redfield claims after suggesting support for research into both theories he was then excluded from further discussions about the virus’ origin.
‘Their goal was to have a single narrative,’ he said of Fauci and his team.
Other researchers claim Daszak attempted to bury information about COVID’s genesis, arguing he ‘flatly refused to share progress reports from his contested research grant’.
The EcoHealth president was even dismissed from a task force investigating the berth of the virus because of failed to disclose his knowledge on the subject.
‘[Daszak] and NIH have acted badly,’ Columbia University economist Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, who dismissed Daszak from the task force, told Vanity Fair. ‘There has been a lack of transparency…and there is a lot more to know and that can be known.’
Sachs argued the NIH should support an ‘independent scientific investigation’ to examine the ‘possible role’ the NIH, EcoHealth, WIV and a partner laboratory at the University of North Carolina had in the pandemic.
‘Both hypotheses are still very much with us [and] need to be investigated seriously and scientifically,’ he stated.
Daszak has also been accused of being relentless in his pursuit of obtaining NIH grant money from Fauci for EcoHealth’s research.
He would invite Fauci to EcoHealth events that were described on invitations as ‘educational’ despite the fact that nonprofit officials referred to them as ‘cultivation events’ in which they should network with ‘prospective federal funders’.
The group would spend at approximately $8,000 on each ‘cultivation’ event.
‘These kinds of events are common among many nongovernmental organizations and nonprofits, which depend upon both public and private donors for support,’ Daszak told the magazine, defending the parties.
Daszak also repeatedly lauded Fauci, requesting he serve as a ‘panel speaker’ at select EcoHealth events.
In September 2013, Daszak reportedly emailed David Morens, Facui’s senior adviser, seeking his participation on a panel.
According to Vanity Fair, Morens replied: ‘Write Tony directly, thanking him for meeting with you all recently and then inviting him to be a member of this Cosmos Club discussion. That way, it is personal and doesn’t look “cooked” by us.’
Although Fauci declined that invitation, along with several others, Daszak remained firm in his pursuit of the health leader and his federal funding.
Morens, seemingly trying to help Daszak in his mission, told the EcoHealth leader in February 2016: ‘Fauci “normally says no to almost everything like this. Unless ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox are all there with cameras running. If he were asked to give THE main talk or the only talk that might increase the chances.”’
Daszak was under scrutiny again in April 2020 when theories about the origin of COVID surfaced.
A reporter asked then-President Donald Trump during a COVID press briefing why the U.S. government would support a $3.7million grant to a Chinese lab.
‘We will end that grant very quickly,’ Trump replied, prompting a follow-up question, from another reporter, directed at Fauci about whether a lab could be responsibly for COVID.
Fauci, answered, alleging a ‘group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists’ determined the virus was ‘totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human.’
The next day, Daszak reportedly 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’.
Fauci reportedly thanked the scientist back.
This is an excerpt from Daily Mail.
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