Senator Rand Paul has again accused Dr Anthony Fauci of lying under oath while testifying before the Senate in July when he claimed the National Institutes of Health (NIH) did not fund controversial gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China. “Surprise surprise – Fauci lied again,” Senator Paul tweeted. “And I was right about his agency funding novel Coronavirus research at Wuhan.” It comes after newly released documents obtained by The Intercept show the NIH directed a grant of $3.1 million USD to the US health organisation Eco Health Alliance. Nearly $600,000 of the fund went straight to the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study bat coronaviruses. In July Dr Fauci told the Senate the NIH did send funds to study bat coronaviruses, however the money did not fund dangerous gain-of-function research. Gain-of-function is the medical research that “alters an organism or disease in a way that increases pathogenesis, transmissibility or host range.” However after the 900 pages of documents were released – a molecular biologist at Rutgers University says the claims the research wasn’t defined as gain-of-function is “untruthful”. “The documents make it clear that assertions by the NIH Director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV are untruthful,” Richard Ebright tweeted. “The materials show that the 2014 and 2019 NIH grants to EcoHealth with subcontracts to WIV funded gain-of-function research as defined in federal policies in effect in 2014-2017 and potential pandemic pathogen enhancement as defined in federal policies in effect in 2017-present. “The materials confirm the grants supported the construction–in Wuhan–of novel chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses that combined a spike gene from one coronavirus with genetic information from another coronavirus, and confirmed the resulting viruses could infect human cells.” The documents also show that a separate study on genetically engineered mice with human cell receptors was conducted at the Wuhan University Center for Animal Experiment. Alina Chan – also a molecular biologist – assessed the documents and the seriousness of the studying bat coronaviruses. “In this proposal, they actually point out that they know how risky this work is,” she said. “They keep talking about people potentially getting bitten – and they kept records of everyone who got bitten. “Does EcoHealth have those records? And if not, how they can they possibly rule out a research-related accident?”
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