During a Senate Health Committee hearing on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, clashed with Sen. Rand Paul, accusing the Kentucky Republican of lying about the role the National Institutes of Health (NIH) played in funding controversial research in Wuhan, China.
Questioning Fauci about the federal COVID-19 response, Paul said the NIH funded illegal gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which created a highly dangerous and transmissible virus able to infect humans. It’s an accusation Paul has made before, and one that Fauci has denied.
But on Tuesday, Paul implied Fauci had previously lied to Congress, and that he was fully aware of what the Wuhan lab was doing with grant money that came from NIH. However, it didn’t go well for Paul.
Paul cited an academic paper that purportedly shows the lab was conducting illegal research to create “potential pandemic pathogens that exist only in the lab, not in nature,” a claim Fauci angrily denied.
“Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, and I want to say that officially,” Fauci said.
“How can you say that’s not gain-of-function? 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 responded, cutting Fauci off.
“If the point that you are making is that the grant that was funded as a subaward … created SARS-COV-2, that’s where you are getting,” Fauci said, pointing two fingers at Paul before the senator cut him off again.
“We don’t know … but all the evidence is pointing that it came from the lab and there will be responsibility for those that funded the lab, including yourself,” Paul said, adding that while “nobody is saying” the viruses that were created in Wuhan caused the pandemic, the lab was still conducting gain-of-function research that was funded by NIH.
“I totally resent the lie you are now propagating, senator,” Fauci said, adding that it is molecularly impossible that research funded by NIH was responsible for SARS-CoV-2.
Fauci concluded by telling paul: “If anybody is lying here, Senator, it is you.”
“If anybody is lying here, Senator, it is you.”
— Dr. Fauci to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). pic.twitter.com/mrEQTCHgRN
— The Recount (@therecount) July 20, 2021