Piers Morgan Takes on Wuhan Lab Leak Theory and Fauci Emails in New Column

Piers Morgan said in his latest column that China will have to be "severely punished" if it's proven that COVID leaked from a lab in Wuhan. He also raised questions about the future of Dr. Anthony Fauci following the release of hundreds of pages of his emails.

Writing for the Mail Online on Thursday, the British journalist and broadcaster said that Fauci's reputation "will be destroyed" if the lab leak theory turns out to be correct.

Fauci is director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). In 2020, he said scientific evidence suggested "very strongly" that COVID had not leaked from a lab, but recently said he wasn't sure if the virus had developed naturally and backed an investigation.

"Did the world's worst pandemic for 100 years emanate from a laboratory in Wuhan, China?" Morgan wrote.

"If so, where does all this leave Dr Anthony Fauci, America's top infectious disease expert, and the face of the nation's response to Covid, who vehemently dismissed the engineered theory but has close and potentially conflicting ties to China's top scientists and the very lab under suspicion?"

Morgan pointed to the fact that President Joe Biden has ordered a 90-day investigation into the origins of the virus and he wondered how China should be "punished" if the outcome of the investigation showed COVID came from a lab.

"China's credibility in this crisis was already severely damaged from the start by its refusal to be transparent about the rapid spread of the virus, lies about its soaring infection numbers while setting up temporary hospitals, denials it could be transmitted from human-to-human even when it was happening, and decision to allow international travel to continue when it knew that was likely to export a global outbreak," Morgan wrote.

If the lab leak theory is true, China would be "directly culpable for the ruinous pandemic," he argued.

Morgan pointed to more than 3,000 emails recently released to BuzzFeed News under the Freedom of Information Act. They show that Kristian G. Andersen, director of the Scripps Research Institute, emailed Fauci on January 31, 2020, to express concern that the virus had features that "(potentially) look engineered."

Andersen and his team later published a paper in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Medicine saying that they did not "believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible." Andersen defended that conclusion this week in an exchange on Twitter.

"What is clear from the emails is that from near the start of the pandemic, Fauci was being sent repeated warnings about the lab-leak theory," Morgan wrote, citing an April 16, 2020, email from National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins.

Collins sent a Fox News article to Fauci about the lab leak theory with the subject line "conspiracy gains momentum." Morgan points out that Fauci's reply is redacted.

"What did he say in response? Why can't we know it?" he said.

Morgan also highlighted an exchange with Peter Daszak, president of virus research non-profit EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth Alliance received grant money from the NIH and worked with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) to conduct research on the risks of bat coronavirus spreading to humans. Daszak praised Fauci for publicly dismissing the lab leak theory in an email on April 18.

The lab leak theory centers on the idea that COVID originated at the WIV, but this has not yet been proven. The NIH provided $600,000 in funding for the WIV between 2015 and 2020, according to The Financial Times.

Morgan concluded that if the lab leak theory is proved, questions about Fauci's role "may reach career-ending velocity."

Newsweek has asked NIAID for comment.

Dr. Anthony Fauci Testifies Before the Senate
Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), testifies before a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update from Federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on May 11, 2021, in Washington, DC. Recently released emails have led to renewed criticism of Fauci's handling of COVID. Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images