Fauci’s Definition For Gain-Of-Function Research Contradicts The Agency He Once Headed, Testimony Reveals

Dr. Anthony Fauci testified to Congress in January that he opted to use the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) definition for gain-of-function research in previous testimony, directly breaking with how the agency he formerly headed defines it.

Fauci, who formerly headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), claimed during his testimony that, when he told Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in 2021 that the NIAID “categorically has not funded gain-of-function research to be conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” he was using HHS’ definition for gain-of-function research through its P3CO framework. Yet, NIAID defines gain-of-function research as anything that “may be reasonably inferred to confer attributes to influenza, MERS or SARS viruses such that the resulting virus would have enhanced pathogenicity and/or transmissibility in mammals,” according to a 2016 letter sent by the NIAID and obtained by U.S. Right to Know via a Freedom of Information Act request.

COVID-19 is a SARS virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, funded through a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to EcoHealth Alliance, modified bat coronaviruses and increased their infectiousness.

Fauci, breaking with the NIAID, told Congress that “when I’m asked is something gain-of-function, I’m referring to the operative definition of gain-of-function according to the framework of the P3CO.”

“When you’re deciding whether a grant should be funded, this is the operational definition,” he continued. An NIH spokesperson previously told the DCNF, however, that P3CO was not used to scrutinize the grant to EcoHealth that ultimately funded bat coronavirus research in Wuhan.

HHS’ P3CO definition includes any pathogen that is highly transmissible, likely to be harmful to humans and has been modified to enhance its transmissibility or virulence. The definition does not include “naturally occurring pathogens that are circulating in or have been recovered from nature, regardless of their pandemic potential.”

While Fauci has denied that federal dollars funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan, NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak told Congress that the government did, in fact, fund such research on May 16.

“It depends on your definition of gain-of-function research,” Tabak said, responding to a question regarding federal funding of gain-of-function research at the WIV. “If you’re speaking about the generic term, yes, we did.”

Fauci refused to state whether he agreed or disagreed with Tabak when pressed by Congress in January.


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