Dr Anthony Fauci gave Senator Rand Paul a serious disguise on Tuesday morning, telling the Kentucky Republican he was misinterpreting information in a scientific article to accuse the National Institutes for Health of funding controversial coronavirus research.
“Senator Paul, you don’t know what you’re talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say it officially. You don’t know what you’re talking about, okay? Said Fauci, who has led the NIH for more than 35 years.
The stormy response came during a select subcommittee hearing on the coronavirus crisis – the site of Fauci’s latest verbal clash with the Tory senator. In May, the nation’s top infectious disease expert told Paul he was “entirely and completely incorrect” about the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Paul once again focused his questioning on the Chinese Institute of Virology in Wuhan and the origins of the pandemic, which still remain unclear.
Paul used a scientific paper from 2017 to claim that not only was the Wuhan Institute of Virology conducting controversial coronavirus ‘gain-of-function’ research, but it was doing so with NIH taxpayer funds. “Gain of function” refers to research into how viruses might become more transmissible in humans; its scientific value is debated. If Paul’s claim was true and it was determined that the virus somehow originated from the Wuhan lab, it could mean that Fauci – who quickly became a GOP bogeyman in the coronavirus era – could shoulder some of the blame in the deadly crisis.
Paul lashed out at Fauci during the hearing, telling him, “You are trying to obscure the responsibility of 4 million people around the world who are dying from a pandemic.”
The Republican senator, however, had misinterpreted the scientific paper he presented as evidence, Fauci told him.
“This document you are referring to has been judged by qualified personnel from top to bottom of the chain as not being a gain of office,” Fauci clearly stated before being repeatedly interrupted by Paul.
“I totally hate the lie you are spreading now, senator,” Fauci said, adding that Paul’s implied accusation was “molecularly impossible.”
“I want everyone to understand that if you look at these viruses, and this is judged by trained virologists and evolutionary biologists, these viruses are molecularly impossible to train in SARS-CoV-2,” Fauci said. .
He concluded: “You are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individuals. I don’t like it at all, and if anyone is laying here, senator, it is you.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology has sparked international interest as it conducts research on bat coronaviruses in the same Chinese province where COVID-19 was first documented. The virus was originally believed to have jumped to humans from infected animals at a wildlife market in Wuhan, but this explanation ignores individuals unrelated to the market who caught the virus before it. does not begin to circulate widely.
The origins of the pandemic are under investigation by U.S. officials and the World Health Organization, but it could be years before a consensus is reached.
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