Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health went head-to-head during a Tuesday Senate hearing over claims that a grant from the NIH contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly,” Fauci, the White House chief medical advisor, told Paul after the senator asked if the NIH funded gain-of-function research at a lab in Wuhan, China – the same town where the COVID-19 pandemic reportedly began.
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Gain-of-function research involves improving the ability of pathogens to cause diseases and defining the “fundamental nature of human-pathogen interaction,” according to Public Health Emergency. Fauci previously denied that the NIH has ever funded the research at a lab in Wuhan said CNBC.
He did mention Tuesday a sub-grant from EcoHealth to a lab in Wuhan.
“It’s a dance, and you’re dancing around this, because you’re trying to obscure responsibility for 4 million people dying around the world from a pandemic,” Paul said, referencing to research about work at the lab.
“Senator Paul, I have never lied before the Congress, and I do not retract that statement,” said Fauci.
The research Rand referred to in his questioning was judged by “qualified staff up and down the chain” as not being gain-of-function research, Fauci explained. He also said that it would be “molecularly impossible,” for the pathogens researched to result in SARS CoV-2, the COVID-19 pathogen.
“I totally resent the lie that you are now propagating, Senator,” said Fauci.
He went on to say that Paul has a pattern of making false claims about this subject during hearings.