Friday, July 5, 2024

In Congress, Debate Rages About How To Prevent the Next Lab Leak; Dr. Anthony Fauci Writes COVID-19 Lab Leak is a ‘conspiracy theory’ in Memoir — But Told Congress It Wasn’t, and other C-Virus related stories

Annabelle Gordon - CNP/CNP / Polaris/Newscom
In Congress, Debate Rages About How To Prevent the Next Lab Leak:
The Biden administration says its new guidance will make pandemic research safer. Critics say it suffers the same flaws as past, failed gain-of-function regulations.
At a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this week, Sen. Mitt Romney (R–Utah) asked why there's "so much energy" around the question of whether the pandemic began in a lab or spilled over from a natural source.
"We'll never be 100 percent sure about one or the other," said Romney. "Given that it could have been either, we know what action we need to take to protect from either….One, we should clean up the wet markets. And two, tighten the labs."
In recent months, the idea that COVID might have originated from a lab, and specifically the Wuhan Institute of Virology, has been upgraded in the discourse from a "conspiracy theory" to a plausible explanation for how the pandemic began.
Simultaneously, people who are often skeptical or agnostic about a lab leak have argued that definitively answering the question of COVID's origins is of secondary importance. Rather, we should be focused on preventing the next pandemic.
In this vein, last month, the Biden administration released new guidance for how research-funding agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) should vet proposed experiments involving pathogens of enhanced pandemic potential—the subset of so-called "gain of function" research that could potentially cause a disease outbreak via a lab leak.
This new guidance "will enable the oversight system for research involving biological agents and toxins to better address these risks," reads the text of the White House's new policy.
Critics of the new policy argue that it suffers from the same flaws that undermined past government guidance on the funding of potentially pandemic-causing gain-of-function research.
"The administration says that this is done. 'We've issued some guidance, we've changed some of the recommendations from NIH, and we've fixed the problem'," Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) tells Reason. "The problem is that's sort of the fox fixing the problems for regulating the hen house."
The federal government has gone through multiple policies intended to subject gain-of-function research on potential pandemic pathogens to some risk-benefit analysis and to prevent funding of the most dangerous experiments. --->READ MORE HERE
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Dr. Anthony Fauci writes COVID-19 lab leak is a ‘conspiracy theory’ in memoir — but told Congress it wasn’t:
Dr. Anthony Fauci writes in his new “tell-all” that those who argue the COVID-19 pandemic stemmed from a lab leak in Wuhan, China, potentially due to experiments funded by US grants, are promoting a “conspiracy theory” — contradicting his own recent testimony before Congress.
Fauci, 83, writes in his memoir “On Call” of a now-infamous exchange with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) during a 2021 hearing about SARS-CoV-2 possibly escaping through a lab accident.
“The smear campaign soon boiled over into conspiracy theories,” the former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) chief and ex-White House chief medical adviser claims. “One of the most appalling examples of this was the allegation, without a shred of evidence, that an NIAID grant to the EcoHealth Alliance (EHA) with a subgrant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China funded research that caused the COVID pandemic.”
“At a May 11 [2021] Senate HELP Committee hearing, Senator Rand Paul fed the conspiracy theory, which he amped up further at the subsequent HELP hearing on July 20,” he goes on. “I was shocked and incensed by this totally inappropriate accusation.”
Fauci also claims Paul “was essentially holding me personally responsible for the creation of the virus that caused the COVID pandemic, saying, ‘You’re trying to obscure responsibility for four million people dying around the world from a pandemic.’”
“We don’t know that [SARS-CoV-2] didn’t come from the lab, but all the evidence is pointing that it came from the lab, and there will be responsibility for those who funded the lab, including yourself,” Paul said at the time.
Omitted from the account is Fauci’s unequivocal response to Paul: “Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely, entirely and completely incorrect … the NIH [National Institutes of Health] has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute.” --->READ MORE HERE
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