Weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic achieved full-blown proportions, US infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci had approved a paper that stated that the virus had not leaked from a Chinese virology lab.
Records of email communication uncovered by the Republicans in the US House of Representatives showed that Fauci, who was the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had underscored a scientific paper that disproved the lab leak theory.
More Than 7 Million People Die
The revelation comes in the backdrop of the emergence of new and compelling belief that the Covid-19 pandemic that killed more than seven million people across the world, happened due to a disastrous virus leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
Last week, the US Department of Energy concluded that the Covid-19 pandemic was caused by a lab leak in China. The US energy department was earlier undecided on the source of the pandemic but has now concluded that the virus was laaked from a Chinese biotech lab. The Department oversees a network of 17 US laboratories, including those involved in research in advanced biology. Earlier in May 2020, the energy department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory had concluded that a lab-leak theory was plausible.
The New York Post article that reports the latest revelation about Fauci's dubious involvement in the alleged cover-up, says that eight weeks he commissioned/approved the theory disproving lab leak Fauci appeared at a White House press conference to debunk the lab leak theory.
Fauci's view of the pandemic had always conflicted those of President Donald Trump, and on numerous occasions Fauci had taken pains to disprove, debunk and correct the President. During the White House press conference, Fauci cited the report he was part of weeks earlier to debunk the lab leak theory that held China responsible for the coronavirus pandemic.
"There was a study recently .... where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences... in bats as they evolve and the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human. So, the paper will be available. I don't have the authors right now, but we can make it available to you," Fauci said at the presser, according to The Post.
The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2
That controversial scientific paper was titled "The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2". It was published in Nature Medicine on February 17, 2020. Fauci had held conference calls with the authors days before the publication of the report. In the calls he had reportedly discussed if the virus had leaked from the Wuhan lab and "may have been intentionally genetically manipulated".
In a startling revelation, the House Oversight subcommittee uncovered emails that show that Fauci "prompted" the paper's co-author Dr. Kristian Andersen to write the paper seeking to disprove the lab leak theory.
Eventually, Anderson sent the paper to Nature Medicine with a cover letter that stated: "There has been a lot of speculation, fear-mongering, and conspiracies put forward in this space. [This paper was] Prompted by Jeremy Farrah [sic], Tony Fauci, and Francis Collins".
Wuhan Institute of Virology in Focus
The lab leak theory held the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China responsible for the virus outbreak that killed hundreds of more than 7 million people across the world. However, the theory was denied by China and discredited by many organizations and the US government agencies.
While former President Donald Trump and many prominent Republicans endorsed the lab leak theory, their political opponents in the Democratic party took up the other extreme and discredited the lab leak theory. The Biden administration never endorsed the lab leak theory but the president asked all US agencies to use their maximum resources to get to the bottom of the issue.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had earlier said it believed the pandemic was caused by an accident in the Wuhan lab, following which the virus leaked out.
Also, a US intelligence report in 2021 had said that Covid-19 first circulated in Wuhan in November 2019 and then spread from there. However, the opponents of the lab leak theory contented that the virus might have emerged from Wuhan, but from a wet market in the area, not the virology lab.