Sen. Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci clashed at a Senate Health Committee hearing on Tuesday after the Kentucky Republican implied that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director had previously lied to Congress about the role the National Institutes of Health (NIH) played in funding controversial research in Wuhan, China, the National Review reported.
Paul implied that Fauci misled Congress during May testimony, in which Fauci said that the United States had never funded Wuhan Institute of Virology gain-of-function projects, which involves making viruses more contagious or deadly in a laboratory.
The senator then said that the research recorded in the paper "explicitly matches the definition of gain-of-function research and then asked Fauci, "Knowing that it is a crime to lie to Congress … do you wish to retract your May 11 claim that the NIH never funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan?"
Fauci responded that "I have never lied before the Congress, and I do not retract that statement. This paper was judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain-of-function."
When Paul interrupted, trying to ask how what took place in the WIV lab was not gain-of-function research, Fauci responded by saying, "Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, and I want to say that officially," The Hill reported.
Paul interrupted Fauci again, reading an NIH definition of gain-of-function which says "scientific research that increases the transmissibility among animals is gain-of-function."
The senator continued by saying that the WIV researchers "took animal viruses … then increased their transmissibility to humans. How you can say that is not gain-of-function -it’s a dance, and you’re dancing around this, because you’re trying to obscure responsibility for four million people around the world dying from a pandemic."
Fauci then shot back, saying "I totally resent the lie you are now propagating, Senator. If you look at those viruses" studied in the WIV paper, "those viruses are molecularly impossible to result in SARS-CoV-2 … You are implying what we did was responsible for the deaths of individuals. If anybody is lying here, Senator, it is you."
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