How involved was Fauci in the origination of the novel virus that caused COVID-19?

Top-notch investigative journalism details his link to the Wuhan lab that probably created the virus.

According to a Wall Street Journal report:

Before Covid-19 ravaged the world, Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases funded coronavirus research that included work at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. The idea was to study the ability of such viruses to attack humans, but could a Fauci-funded experiment actually be the source of the deadly global infection? In an exhaustive account of the viral possibilities published this week by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Nicholas Wade argues that the Chinese lab is the most likely source of the world-wide agony. 

In ““The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?” Wade details a link between Fauci and the federal funding of the lab that was working on creating a version of coronavirus virus that could more easily infect humans–a process called gain of function. The stated justification was that a more deadly and infectious virus would help in the creation of a vaccine that would more effectively combat a pandemic.

Gain of function research is so dangerous that it has been banned in the United States. An exemption exists for federal funding of gain of function outside of the United States when a clear and immediate danger exists. This, according to Wade, allowed the National Institutes of Health to support the lab’s work.

Wade concludes that more and better evidence points to the lab as the source of the virus, from whence it escaped. That evidence, he wrote, is better than what supports an opposing theory that the virus naturally jumped from bats to humans–an explanation not surprising supported by China and the World Health Organization.

The implication of the virus having escaped from a lab would be very troubling, indeed. He wrote:

Virologists…had much at stake in the assigning of blame for the pandemic. For 20 years, mostly beneath the public’s attention, they had been playing a dangerous game. In their laboratories they routinely created viruses more dangerous than those that exist in nature. They argued that they could do so safely, and that by getting ahead of nature they could predict and prevent natural “spillovers,” the cross-over of viruses from an animal host to people. If SARS2 had indeed escaped from such a laboratory experiment, a savage blowback could be expected, and the storm of public indignation would affect virologists everywhere, not just in China. “It would shatter the scientific edifice top to bottom,” an MIT Technology Review editor, Antonio Regalado, said in March 2020.

Thus, you might expect Fauci to stoutly deny he had anything to do with the program, as he did.

To understand Wade’s timeline and links, you need to read the entire lengthy article. Wade is no far-right conspiracy nut, but a respected and well-credentialed former science writer for the New York Times. The Bulletin Atomic Scientist in which the article appeared is far from a conservative publication.

By the way, my own question is: Why is the United States funding this kind of research that has military implications in a lab under the control of the Chinese Communist Party?

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  • Other science writers do not believe that Nicholas Wade made his case. For example:

    "As I earlier reported, some research supports this contention, while other research does not. Now the Scripps Research Institute immunologist Kristian Andersen has weighed in on the "does not" side. "The site is not a 'smoking gun', nor does it 'make a powerful challenge to the idea of a natural origin,'" he writes. Last year, I should note, Andersen and some colleagues published an article in Nature Medicine that concluded the coronavirus "is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus."

    https://reason.com/2021/05/13/is-this-a-covid-19-smoking-gun-or-is-it-a-damp-squib/

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