Dr. Anthony Fauci writes in his new “tell-all” that those who argue the COVID-19 pandemic stemmed from a lab leak in Wuhan, China, potentially due to experiments funded by US grants, are promoting a “conspiracy theory” — contradicting his own recent testimony before Congress.

Fauci, 83, writes in his memoir “On Call” of a now-infamous exchange with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) during a 2021 hearing about SARS-CoV-2 possibly escaping through a lab accident.

“The smear campaign soon boiled over into conspiracy theories,” the former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) chief and ex-White House chief medical adviser claims. “One of the most appalling examples of this was the allegation, without a shred of evidence, that an NIAID grant to the EcoHealth Alliance (EHA) with a subgrant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China funded research that caused the COVID pandemic.”

“At a May 11 [2021] Senate HELP Committee hearing, Senator Rand Paul fed the conspiracy theory, which he amped up further at the subsequent HELP hearing on July 20,” he goes on. “I was shocked and incensed by this totally inappropriate accusation.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci writes in his new public health tell-all that those who argue the COVID-19 pandemic started from a lab leak in Wuhan, China, potentially due to US grant funding, are promoting a “conspiracy theory.” Getty Images

Fauci also claims Paul “was essentially holding me personally responsible for the creation of the virus that caused the COVID pandemic, saying, ‘You’re trying to obscure responsibility for four million people dying around the world from a pandemic.’”

“We don’t know that [SARS-CoV-2] didn’t come from the lab, but all the evidence is pointing that it came from the lab, and there will be responsibility for those who funded the lab, including yourself,” Paul said at the time.

Omitted from the account is Fauci’s unequivocal response to Paul: “Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely, entirely and completely incorrect … the NIH [National Institutes of Health] has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute.”

“Fauci continues to resort to ad hominem attacks instead of arguments of substance,” Sen Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told The Post.  REUTERS

Though Fauci has stuck by that claim in subsequent congressional hearings, NIH principal deputy director Dr. Lawrence Tabak told members of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic last month that US taxpayers did fund gain-of-function research on bat SARS viruses at the WIV.

Manhattan-based EcoHealth has denied that its work met the controlling definition for that research — or that the experiments could have led to the pandemic.

A spokesperson told The Post Thursday that Tabak’s “testimony was clearly in error.”

NIH principal deputy director Dr. Lawrence Tabak told Congress in May that US taxpayers did fund gain-of-function research on bat SARS viruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. REUTERS

Earlier this week, two scientific experts testified before another Senate committee that evidence points to the experiments at the Wuhan lab as the most likely cause of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the Royal Society and US National Academy of Sciences had even “singled out” the WIV’s work in 2015 as the “most likely of all research in the world to trigger a pandemic,” noted one of the experts, Rutgers University molecular biologist Dr. Richard Ebright.

Fauci has denied that he had ever smeared lab-leak proponents as conspiratorial in congressional testimony this year — despite prompting a scientific paper in early 2020 aimed at debunking them — and insists he has an “open mind” about COVID origins.

Earlier this week, Dr. Richard Ebright, above right, and another scientific expert testified in the Senate that evidence points to the experiments at the Wuhan lab as the most likely cause of the COVID-19 pandemic. AP

“I’ve not used that language,” he said when asked during a January transcribed interview whether he agreed with NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins that the lab leak theory was a “destructive conspiracy.”

“It’s a possibility,” he added. “I think that in and of itself isn’t inherently a conspiracy theory, but some people spin off things from that that are kind of crazy.”

Collins had made the remark about the “destructive conspiracy” in an April 16, 2020, email to Fauci, who responded that the lab leak theory was a “shiny object that will go away.”

Two months before that in a podcast interview with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Fauci had said it was a “conspiracy theory” to question whether SARS-CoV-2 escaped from the WIV as a result of potential bioweapon experimentation.

The US intelligence community confirmed in a June 2023 report that the lab did research on behalf of the People’s Liberation Army “to enhance China’s knowledge of pathogens and early disease warning capabilities for defensive and biosecurity needs of the military.”

“Fauci continues to resort to ad hominem attacks instead of arguments of substance,” Paul told The Post Thursday. 

NIH, which oversees NIAID, awarded more than $500,000 to EcoHealth between 2014 and 2020 to funnel toward the risky viral research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Future Publishing via Getty Images

“The preponderance of evidence points to a lab leak: no identified animal reservoir, lack of genetic diversity in viral RNA sequence, and a furin cleavage site in COVID-19 never before found in this family of viruses,” he said. “Even Fauci in private admitted the lab leak was plausible and not a conspiracy theory.”

NIH, which oversees NIAID, awarded more than $500,000 to EcoHealth between 2014 and 2020 that was funneled toward risky viral research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Tabak revealed in an October 2021 letter to Congress that the “limited experiment” tested whether “spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model.”

Dr. Robert Garry, above left, acknowledged to Congress that the Chinese have not provided results of their research in Wuhan, despite requests from the US. Getty Images

The research resulted in a modified virus that was 10,000 times more infectious in lungs, 1 million times more infectious in brains and three times more lethal in humanized lab mice, Ebright testified earlier this week, based on NIH disclosures of the experiment.

Collins has said the resulting virus was “genetically far distant from SARS-CoV-2,” but another EcoHealth proposal, which was never funded, is seen as a potential way in which the virus could have been created.

In drafts of that proposal, EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak also encouraged collaborators to downplay Wuhan researchers’ involvement.

Omitted from the book’s account was Fauci’s unequivocal response to Paul in a May 2021 Senate hearing: “[T]he NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute.” GC Images

The WIV has since been barred for the next 10 years from receiving US funding, and EcoHealth has been suspended and proposed for debarment based on failing to report on or explain why the research, which  “likely violated protocols of the NIH regarding biosafety,” was not gain-of-function.

Daszak testified to the House COVID subcommittee last month that he had not received any samples from the Wuhan lab since before the pandemic.

At a Senate hearing earlier this week, Dr. Robert Garry, who argued that SARS-CoV-2 spread from animals to humans naturally, also acknowledged that the Chinese have not provided any results of their research in that time period, despite requests from the US.

The Post has reached out to Fauci’s publisher, Viking, for comment.



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