- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Renowned Dr. Anthony Fauci, despite his lofty title and far-reaching authority, is responsible for decisions that aided China in worsening the virulence of a pathogen similar to the one that has ravaged the world for nearly two years. Even if the offending virus was not the notorious COVID-19, President Biden should show his chief medical adviser the door. Assisting an adversary along the path of expertise in “gain of function” should lead to loss of job.

A letter last week from the National Institutes of Health to Congress owned up to U.S. funding of potentially dangerous research Dr. Fauci has disclaimed had occurred at the Chinese virology laboratory thought to have been the source of the deadly disease. In a “limited experiment,” read the letter, lab mice were infected with a strain of bat coronavirus, making them sicker.

“Gain of function” is a term the White House doctor swears does not apply to the research funded with a $600,000 grant he approved in his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Fauci is splitting hairs. By any definition, a virus rendered more dangerous has undergone a “gain of function.” Curiously, the NIH no longer defines it at all: The troublesome term has been scrubbed from the organization’s website.

Medical science is cast into ill repute when it descends into research that can just as easily kill as heal. It’s unsurprising, then, that practitioners with skin in the game took note of the NIH’s belated admission of its role in the Wuhan experiments: “NIH corrects untruthful assertions by NIH Director [Francis] Collins and NIAID Director Fauci that NIH had not funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan,” tweeted Richard Ebright, Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University.

Others leaped – perhaps unfairly — to the conclusion that it was COVID-19 that was funded with U.S. dollars. On the contrary, says the NIH, the U.S.-backed Wuhan research experimented with a strain of virus distinct from the current killer. Still, any research that renders a virus more lethal is risky; doing so in tandem with a hostile China is positively foolish.

Sadly, nature has made the communist nation a plague factory. China spawned a flu variant in 1957, killing an estimated 1.1 million. The 1968 Hong Kong Flu claimed another million. Another flu arose in Hong Kong in 1997, then reappeared in 2003, with an aggregate death toll of 300. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a coronavirus variant, surfaced in China’s Guangdong province in 2002, spreading to 26 nations and killing 800. Beijing’s scientists may nonetheless enjoy romping on pestilence’s playground, but the U.S. should have the sense not to join them.

President Biden should show Dr. Fauci the door. Without responsibility, there is no accountability and no one standing between Americans and the next pandemic. “Gain of function” should lead to loss of job.

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