The disclosure appeared in a letter addressed to Kentucky congressman James Comer on Wednesday, in which NIH's principal deputy director Lawrence A. Tabak refers to a "limited experiment" carried to test if "spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model," at the Wuhan lab.
According to Tabak, the mice infected with the modified bat virus "became sicker" than those infected with the unmodified bat virus.
"As sometimes occurs in science, this was an unexpected result of the research, as opposed to something that the researchers set out to do," Tabak announced.
While never using the term, Tabak essentially verifies that gain of function research, which looks at both transmitting disease between animals and humans and is a method for scientists to change organisms and diseases to examine how they could become deadlier or more transmissible, took place at the Chinese lab amid consistent denials from Dr. Fauci.
The letter shifts the blame to U.S non-profit EcoHealth Alliance, which used NIH money to fund research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology for being honest regarding their research.
"EcoHealth failed to report this finding right away, as was required by the terms of the grant," Tabak announced in his letter. "EcoHealth is being notified that they have five days from today to submit to NIH all unpublished data from the experiments and work conducted under this award."
In response to the letter, senator Rand Paul, who has been extensively mocked and dismissed for adopting the theory early on that COVID could have begun in the Wuhan lab and leaked from it, tweeted: "I told you so doesn't even begin to cover it here."
Fauci had testified on many occasions before Congress that American taxpayers never financed what is called a "gain of function" study in China, making a virus more contagious or deadly.
In May, Fauci testified that the NIH "has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology."
Although, Fauci further announced throughout that hearing that there was no way to know if Chinese scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology lied and conducted gain of function experiments on bat coronaviruses using U.S. tax dollars.
"There's no way of guaranteeing that," Fauci announced at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, responding to a question from Republican Sen. John Kennedy.