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New questions are being raised about what U.S. scientists and federal health officials knew about the origins of coronavirus and whether conflicting evidence was suppressed and concealed from the public.
In Tuesday night’s episode of Special Report with Bret Baier, Fox News dived into the early days of the coronavirus pandemic and examined documents obtained that show that Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was warned early on that the virus may have originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
According to the timeline of events set by Baier, on January 27, 2020, Fauci was told that his NIAID had indirectly funded the Wuhan laboratory through EcoHealth – a US-based scientific non-profit that had worked with new coronaviruses.
On January 31, Dr. Kristian Andersen, a well-known virologist at Scripps Lab, privately told Fauci that after discussion with his colleagues, some of COVID-19’s properties may appear contrived, and “the genome does not conform to the expectations of evolutionary theory.”
Andersen added that the situation should be looked at more closely at what time Fauci organized a conference call with his colleagues, where he was told that risky experiments with the new coronavirus may not have gone through proper biosafety review and supervision.
Hours later, Fauci hastily organized a call with dozens of virologists around the world, and notes from the meeting obtained by Special Report reveal that suspicion of the laboratory leak theory was suppressed over concerns about how the public would respond to news of possible Chinese government involvement.
At the meeting, fears were raised by then-National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins that “science and international harmony” could be harmed and accusations of China’s involvement could distract top researchers.
Another scientist at the meeting ruled out the possibility that the virus jumped from a bat to a person in the wild, pointing out that the virus could be generated in a laboratory much more easily.
Fauci and others at the meeting pointed to evidence that the virus originated from a shellfish and wildlife market in Wuhan, which was complicated by the fact that the market was shut down and scrubbed clean by the Chinese authorities.
Agreement was reached in the call that the laboratory’s origin should not be mentioned in a paper because it would add “fuel to conspirators,” and Collins appeared convinced that the natural origin of the virus was “more likely.”
Just four days later, five researchers who were on the call authored preliminary results and gave up their early private belief that the virus was likely the result of a laboratory leak.
It is unclear what new evidence led to the reversal of opinion, but private communication shows that various drafts were sent to Fauci and Collins for approval.
The first public draft was published on February 16, but failed to dampen theories that the virus originated from a laboratory.
Over the next few months, Fauci and Collins worked behind the scenes to shatter the theory of laboratory leakage and communicated with each other the day after President Trump refused to reject the theory of wet markets, discussing “something the NIH can do to help kill this very destructive conspiracy. “
The email from Collins to Fauci contains a link to a section in a special report on the subject, and Fauci urged Collins to ignore the story, referring to it as a “shining object that will disappear.”
Fauci continued to press against the theory of laboratory leakage for several months, and Special Report has learned that two authors of the scientific report that Fauci proclaimed were in close contact with Fauci and awarded millions in grants from his agency.
A year later, President Biden commissioned the American intelligence community to investigate the origins of COVID, but the report was inconclusive, largely due to China’s unwillingness to help.
In August, after the theory of laboratory leakage gained more scientific grounding, Collins Special Report said he was open to the possibility that the virus originated from a laboratory, while rejecting the idea that it was made from scratch by humans. .
In his last interview before leaving the NIH, Collins stood by the theory that the virus originated in nature.
The results of the special report highlight frustration in the scientific community due to a lack of openness and incomplete or inaccurate facts, as Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill are pushing for more information on what the federal government knew about the virus’ origins and when.