Search and Hit Enter

Psaki says Fauci’s job safe despite claims he lied to Congress about coronavirus research in Wuhan

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has stated that Dr Anthony Fauci would not be fired despite allegations about the US government’s purported funding of the gain-of-function research at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) that ostensibly led to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement came after new website The Intercept published a report on Monday revealing hundreds of documents claiming that Washington injected $3.1 million of federal money into the US non-profit health organisation EcoHealth Alliance to support bat coronavirus research at the WIV.

According to the report, about $600,000 of the sum was partially used by the WIV to find and alter bat coronaviruses that could infect humans.

Referring to The Intercept’s story in a statement on Thursday, Psaki told reporters that the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) had “refuted that reporting” and that the NIH “has never approved any research that would make a coronavirus more dangerous to humans, a reminder that there are previous and different coronaviruses than the existing one we’re battling”.

“And the body of science produced by this research demonstrates that the bat coronavirus sequences published from that work that the NIH supported were not the COVID-2 strain – so what he said was correct”, Psaki added, in an apparent nod to Fauci, who is currently at the helm of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In May, Fauci testified before a Senate panel that the NIH had never funded gain-of-function research at the WIV, a process that involves the genetic alteration of an organism in a way that may enhance the biological functions of gene products.

When asked whether Fauci’s job was safe in light of the allegations about gain-of-function research, Psaki said, “correct”.

Republican Congressman to Fauci: Resign ‘Immediately’

She spoke shortly after Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher described the documents released by The Intercept as “a smoking gun” that indicate Fauci “lied to the American people about his organisation’s support for this risky [gain-of-function] research”.

“[Fauci] has repeatedly lied before Congress and the American people and should immediately resign. But his resignation is not enough. Congress must also conduct a thorough investigation into this research and the way these grants were issued to ensure no bureaucrat is able to hide behind lawyerly definitions and skirt regulations like this again,” Gallagher underlined.

The remarks came a few weeks after US intelligence provided President Joe Biden with a report on the origins of the COVID-19, with the authors of the paper being unable to conclude whether the virus was transmitted from an animal to a human during a natural process, or originated in a Chinese bio lab.

China earlier rejected the report as “not scientifically credible”, stressing that it supports the ongoing scientific investigations aiming to track down the coronavirus’ origins but opposes the politicisation of the matter.

In late May, the World Health Organization released a report that argued that it was “extremely unlikely” the COVID-19 escaped from a WIV research lab.