Fauci Greenlit Paper From Wuhan-Affiliated Group While Downplaying Lab Leak Theory

Former White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci (Getty Images)
October 6, 2022

Dr. Anthony Fauci edited a research paper from the organization that conducted research on infected bats with the Wuhan Institute of Virology while simultaneously downplaying concerns that COVID-19 may have leaked from the Chinese lab.

A review of the scientific journal PNAS shows Fauci was assigned to edit the paper, which detailed efforts to collect Nipah virus from wild bats in Bangladesh, in January 2020. The paper was funded by several grants from the Fauci-helmed National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and authored by members of the EcoHealth Alliance, including the group's president, Peter Daszak. Before the pandemic, Daszak and the Alliance funneled $600,000 in taxpayer funds to the Wuhan Institute of Virology to conduct risky experiments on bat coronaviruses.

Fauci’s involvement in editing the paper ran "concurrent with the campaigns organized by Fauci and Daszak to push the false narrative that science shows SARS-CoV2 entered humans through natural spillover," Rutgers University professor of chemical biology Richard Ebright told the Washington Free Beacon.

As Fauci edited the EcoHealth paper, he worked to quash debate on the hypothesis that the group’s taxpayer-funded work with the Wuhan lab could have been connected to the COVID-19 outbreak. Emails show that experts warned Fauci during the early stages of the pandemic to take the theory seriously. Daszak thanked Fauci in an April 2020 email for his efforts to dispel "myths" surrounding EcoHealth and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Fauci approved the EcoHealth paper for publication in September 2020.

The National Institutes of Health accused EcoHealth in October 2021 of failing to properly report that its lab-made coronaviruses in Wuhan exhibited a viral load over 10,000 times higher than those found in humanized mice cells. In August, the NIH canceled funding for EcoHealth’s work with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), citing its failure to provide "laboratory notebooks and original electronic files from the research conducted at WIV."

According to Ebright, Fauci’s involvement in the editorial process was a serious conflict of interest.

"Fauci should not have agreed to serve as handling editor for the paper," Ebright said. "Especially not in January 2020, at the start of a pandemic possibly caused by reckless research funded by Fauci's institute and conducted by authors of the paper."

Even after learning of EcoHealth’s compliance failures, Fauci’s NIAID in September approved a new $653,000 grant to the group to fund its virus-hunting efforts in southeast Asia. The move prompted Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) to introduce a bill to ban taxpayer funding of the group.

"Taxpayers deserve answers about why Dr. Fauci continues to show favoritism for an organization that has violated federal laws, refuses to turn over documents vital to understanding the possible origins of COVID-19, and demonstrated reckless disregard for safety," Ernst told the Free Beacon. "Dr. Fauci defends the decision to continue funding the group by claiming he had to ‘be fair.’ Between giving grants and editorial advice, it seems Dr. Fauci has been more than fair to EcoHealth, and it’s time to be fair to taxpayers!"

The White Coat Waste Project, a government watchdog group, first spotted Fauci’s involvement in editing the EcoHealth research paper.

"First, Fauci champions dangerous animal experiments to balloon his $6 billion budget. Next, he doles it out via grants to EcoHealth and other white coats in the United States and abroad. He and his colleagues then personally edit and approve the experiments they funded for publication in scientific journals—then claim success because of the publication record. Finally, he renews the payouts to fuel the government gravy train," White Coat Waste Project government affairs director Tristan Daedalus told the Free Beacon.

"Fauci isn’t following the science, but EcoHealth sure is following the money. They should be defunded, not refunded. Senator Ernst’s new bill is the solution: Stop the money, stop the madness," Daedalus said.

The NIH and the PNAS did not return requests for comment.