Monday, September 13, 2021

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s love for the limelight could land him the role of Mickey Mouse in Disney’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” were he to make a career move. Like the fledgling assistant unschooled in wielding his master’s wand, Dr. Fauci has, by all appearances, unleashed mayhem rather than magic in the workshop used for fiddling with germs. His mischief, though, has proved more difficult than Mickey’s to repair. Despite his denial of support for the specific Chinese virology research that may have ended up killing millions, evidence points to the likelihood that he senselessly backed funding for similar experiments capable of producing a pandemic. 

Documents obtained by The Intercept through Freedom of Information Act requests undercut Dr. Fauci’s protestations of innocence. The material reveals that the Wuhan Institute of Virology “unequivocally” used Fauci-supervised grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to pay for risky “gain-of-function” research, says Richard Ebright, professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University and laboratory director at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology, as reported by Newsweek.

Dr. Ebright’s assessment reinforces charges leveled by Sen. Rand Paul during July Senate hearings that Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH, lied to Congress when denying that NIH-funded work entailed gain-of-function research. Sen. Paul, also a physician, was out of his depth when contending it did, Dr. Fauci claimed.

Experts can disagree, but in light of the newly released documents, Dr. Fauci appears to be splitting hairs over whether NIH-funded research at the Wuhan lab constituted gain-of-function. “Multiple sections of the grant proposals and grant progress reports make it clear that the grants funded gain-of-function research of concern in Wuhan,” Dr. Ebright told Newsweek. In particular, NIH grants funded lab-created coronavirus mutations able to infect humanized mice with viral loads between 10 and 100 times the normal rate and could similarly infect human beings. 

Given its history, China should not be assisted in boosting the potency of viruses. As founder of the modern Communist state, Mao Zedong exterminated an estimated 77 million of his fellow citizens. Current President Xi Jinping’s inhumane tendencies — the harvesting of organs from living prisoners, the incarceration of a million-plus Muslim Uighurs, and the failure to promptly alert world health officials about the deadly spread of COVID-19 – mustn’t be augmented with bioweaponry. 

With China’s cooperation unlikely, the world may never learn definitively whether the pandemic-triggering coronavirus escaped from the Wuhan lab or whether Fauci-funded research created the specific COVID-19 pathogen that has killed millions.

To be fair, there is no reason to believe Dr. Fauci authorized grants with intent to cause harm. Nevertheless, U.S. dollars for any research that helps China render viruses more lethal is wrongheaded. If Dr. Fauci is responsible for funding that objective, it would indicate he is better suited to play Mickey in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” than his current lofty role in government.

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