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'Look at the Facts!' Fauci Rejects Jim Jordan's Claim That He 'Downplayed' COVID Lab Leak Theory

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Source: MEGA

Dr. Anthony Fauci rejected Jim Jordan's allegations that he tried to "downplay" the theory that the COVID-19 virus leaked from a research lab.

Jun. 3 2024, Published 4:45 p.m. ET

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, rejected Republican Rep. Jim Jordan's allegations that he tried to "downplay" the theory that the COVID-19 virus leaked from a research lab in Wuhan, China, has learned.

Fauci, who retired in late 2022 after becoming the public face of the United States' response to the pandemic, was grilled by Republican lawmakers as he testified about the origins of the virus before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic during a hearing on Monday.

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In his new book, Fauci also detailed his battles with former president Donald Trump over the use of of anti-malaria medication hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.

Republicans pointed to research grants given by the National Institutes of Health to EcoHealth Alliance, an American nonprofit group that had partnered with international scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology before the outbreak of the pandemic, and accused Fauci of intentionally suppressing the lab leak theory, which he denied.

"Any qualified evolutionary virologist would confirm that the bat viruses that were studied at WIV under the NIH-funded grant were phylogenetically so far removed from SARS-CoV-2 that it would be molecularly impossible for those viruses to be turned into SARS-CoV-2," Fauci responded in opening remarks posted online on Sunday. "Any suggestion that the viruses studied under the NIH-funded sub-award to WIV resulted in the creation of SARS-CoV-2 is without the slightest bit of evidence or feasibility."

"Was it a lab leak or a natural spillover from an animal reservoir? I have repeatedly stated that I have a completely open mind to either possibility and that if definitive evidence becomes available to validate or refute either theory, I will readily accept it," he continued. "As of now, however, it is important to point out that the information currently available and that has been carefully examined and published in reputable peer-reviewed journals by highly respected virologists strongly suggests that the virus spilled over from an animal reservoir in the Hunan Seafood Market in Wuhan, leading to the COVID-19 pandemic."

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"Did U.S. tax dollars flow through a grant recipient to the lab in China? Your agency approved that, right? Does that have anything to do with this downplaying the lab leak theory?" Jordan pushed in a testy exchange with Fauci. "You agree that there was a push to downplay the lab leak theory?"

"No," Fauci replied. "Not on my part. Look at the facts. I’ve kept an open mind throughout the entire process."

"Well, I think most of the country would find that ... I find that amazing," Jordan said.

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Democratic lawmakers have warned that the subcommittee's probe into Fauci amounts to "an effort to weaponize concerns about a lab-related origin to fuel sentiment against our nation’s scientists and public health officials for partisan gain.”

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In May 2020, during the early months of pandemic, Fauci told National Geographic that the scientific evidence is "very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated … Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species."

"Obviously, there are a number of theories," he told CNN in March 2021, acknowledging the lab leak theory promoted by former CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield. "Dr. Redfield was mentioning that he was giving an opinion as to a possibility, but again, there are other alternatives – others, that most people hold by."



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