Fauci Defends Chinese Scientists But Says No Guarantee China Lab Didn't Use U.S. Funding for Research

Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday, where he found himself defending Chinese scientists during questioning from Sen. John Kennedy.

The Louisiana Republican kept pressing Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, if it was possible scientists in China lied to him in regards to not spending money on gain-of-function research. Fauci repeatedly said he trusts the scientists, though conceded there is "no way of guaranteeing" that they were fully truthful about how U.S. grant money was spent.

dr anthony fauci, tucker carlson, getty
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaking during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on June 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. Fauci was questioned on Wednesday about how U.S. grant money was spent by Chinese scientists. Al Drago - Pool/Getty Images

The line of questioning began with Kennedy asking, "Dr. Fauci, I believe you have testified that you didn't give any money to the Wuhan lab to conduct gain-of-function research, is that right?"

"That is correct," Fauci responded.

"How do you know they didn't lie to you?" Kennedy asked, before asking Fauci again how he knew that the scientists didn't use the money for gain-of-function research and then lie about how it was used.

Fauci said that he and others had seen the results of the experiments that were done and the viruses the Chinese scientists had studied. He noted that all that information is on public databases, and none of it indicates use for gain of functions.

Gain-of-function research refers to work done to alter an organism or disease in a way that increases pathogenesis, transmissibility, or host range. This includes taking virus that could infect humans and making it either more transmissible for humans. Some have theorized that the coronavirus was accidentally leaked from the Wuhan lab rather than spreading from bats to humans via another animal.

Addressing whether he and other American scientists were possibly lied to, Fauci said, "There's no way of guaranteeing that, but in our experience with grantees, including Chinese grantees, which we've had interactions with for a very long period of time, they're very competent, trustworthy, scientists. I'm not talking about anything else in China, I'm talking about the scientists."

Kennedy kept pressing Fauci whether it was possible that the Chinese government influenced the scientists or if the scientists concealed evidence of gain-of-function research. Fauci remained firm in his belief that the scientists were being truthful, however.

Toward the end of his time, Kennedy asked Fauci the following: "Can we agree that if you took President Xi Jinping and turned him upside down and shook him, The World Health Organization would fall out of his pocket?"

"I don't think I can answer that question, sir. I'm sorry," Fauci said while chuckling lightly.

Kennedy followed up by asking, "Would you think that the President Xi Jinping has undue influence over the World Health Organization, do you?"

"I have no way of knowing the influence of the President of China over the WHO," Fauci replied.

Kennedy also accused Fauci and other scientists of "spiking" research done in the Trump administration about the Wuhan lab, another assertion that Fauci denied.

The exchange with Kennedy occurred during Fauci's appearance with Dr. Fancis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, and others at Wednesday's National Institutes of Health 2022 budget request hearing.

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