From Fauci With Love: Congressional Subpoena Unveils SKETCHY Communications On Wuhan Research

By Maria Angelino | Sunday, 21 April 2024 03:00 PM
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Image Credit : Photo by BloomberGetty Images

In a recent revelation, a former top aide to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), reportedly shared "confidential" communications with EcoHealth Alliance.

The communications pertained to the agency's planned response to allegations that it funded hazardous gain-of-function experiments on coronaviruses in Wuhan, China.

The House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Pandemic made public an email exchange between NIAID's Dr. David Morens and EcoHealth President Dr. Peter Daszak on Friday. In the email, Morens, a senior scientific adviser, mentioned that Fauci had been briefed about the accusations of inadequate biosafety levels at the Chinese research lab.

"Peter, the below CONFIDENTIAL email went to Tony," Morens wrote on June 5, 2021, "so that Tony will be prepared to speak to the subject of BSL," an abbreviation for biosafety levels.

Morens also informed Daszak and other National Institutes of Health officials that he was drafting the email when they spoke the previous night. He expressed confidence that Fauci would understand the situation and be able to respond to any criticism if necessary.

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Following allegations that Morens had used his private email account to share information with EcoHealth, potentially violating federal record-keeping laws, the COVID subcommittee chairman, Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), issued a subpoena to Morens on Tuesday.

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The confidential email, obtained by The Post, was sent to EcoHealth, which had received over $1.4 million in federal grants to conduct research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Some of this research was later found to have increased the transmissibility of SARS-like viruses, violating the terms of the grant.

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The email contained talking points for Fauci to address allegations that the US government funded dangerous experiments in Wuhan. This came a month after Fauci had categorically denied these allegations during a Senate hearing.

In a heated exchange with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Fauci stated, "Sen. Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely, entirely and completely incorrect … the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute."

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However, a fact sheet shared with Fauci nearly three weeks later stated that the experiments at WIV involved "chimeric viruses" that "replaced" spike proteins of one bat coronavirus with another but were not "unsafe lab practices."

The research on SARS-CoV-2 had been conducted at a Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) lab, although the fact sheet acknowledged that the US and "most countries" require a BSL-3 lab.

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The fact sheet also stated, "Most importantly, the 3 bat SARSr-CoVs in culture in WIV are not related to SARS-CoV-2, therefore this has no bearing on the origin of SARS-CoV-2."

This statement seems to contradict an email released by EcoHealth last week, in which Daszak mentioned having "15,000 samples in freezers in Wuhan" in an April 26, 2020, email.

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Another email quotes Dr. Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University, who stated in a May 2021 Bulletin of Atomic Scientists article, "It is clear that some or all of this work was being performed using a biosafety standard?—?biosafety level 2, the biosafety level of a standard US dentist’s office?—?that would pose an unacceptably high risk of infection of laboratory staff upon contact with a virus having the transmission properties of SARS-CoV-2."

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Ebright has consistently told The Post that EcoHealth's claim of not conducting gain-of-function or enhanced potential pandemic pathogen experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology is "knowingly, willfully, and brazenly untruthful," referring to the legally controlling definitions for such research in federal policy guidelines.

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In October 2021, NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak admitted that the grants to EcoHealth used "spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor" in mice — without using the term "gain-of-function."

According to Tabak, the mice "became sicker" when infected with the modified virus than those infected with the unmodified virus. However, EcoHealth "failed to report" having created novel coronaviruses that exceeded "a one log increase in growth."

Tabak added that the resulting virus was "genetically very distant" from COVID-19 — but Ebright pointed out a separate proposal from EcoHealth rose to the level of "smoking gun" evidence that SARS-CoV-2 came from a Wuhan research lab.

EcoHealth Alliance has repeatedly denied conducting gain-of-function research. A spokesperson for the group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The author of the fact sheet remains unknown, but another NIAID official on the email chain with Morens suggested it "comes from EcHealth," implying a high level of coordination between Fauci and the Manhattan-based nonprofit in quashing an inquiry into COVID origins.

The omission of the "o" in "EcoHealth" may have been a tactic to evade Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests using the group's name, a source told The Post.

EcoHealth has received more than $4.3 million in NIH grant funding for the same project — "Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence" — since 2014, and it remains ongoing.

The grant was paused from 2020 to 2023 and then reinstated, even as the US Department of Health and Human Services banned the Wuhan Institute of Virology last year from receiving government funding for research for the next 10 years.

Daszak is scheduled to appear before the House COVID Subcommittee for a public hearing on May 1.

The Energy Department and FBI determined in 2023 that an accidental lab leak was the most likely explanation for the COVID-19 pandemic, though HHS Secretary Xavier downplayed the evidence as "speculation" in an interview with Semafor on Thursday.

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