From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been strongly suspected by some that the virus initially emerged via some sort of accidental leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, rather than evolved naturally among animals prior to being passed to humans.
Now, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, it has been revealed that Dr. Anthony Fauci, among other top officials and virologists, deliberately set out to "disprove" the lab leak origin theory in the early days of the pandemic, the Daily Caller reported.
Fauci, who only recently retired from his decades-long tenure as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has long been adamant in his opposition to the idea that COVID-19 originated and escaped from the Wuhan lab that was known to be doing research on coronaviruses and had a poor track record in following proper safety protocols.
According to journalist Jimmy Tobias, writing for The Intercept and following a year of FOIA litigation to obtain unredacted email chains, in late January 2020 a small "close-knit" group of top scientists and public health officials, including Dr. Fauci, was formed by Jeremy Farrer, the director of the Wellcome Trust health research organization.
The purpose of that group was to discuss and determine the most likely origin of the novel coronavirus and to share that determination with the public in order to quell various "conspiracy theories" that had been raised on social media, mainstream news, and by certain politicians and scientists, including the possibility that the virus was created and then leaked from the Wuhan lab.
In March 2020, a paper written by members of that group about the "proximal origin" of COVID-19 was published which asserted that "our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated construct," and later added for good measure, "we do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible" in regard to the origin of the viral pandemic.
As the unredacted email chain obtained by Tobias shows, however, not everybody in the group was on the same page, at least initially, as several of them acknowledged the very real and even likely possibility that the virus had been crafted somehow in the Wuhan lab and had not evolved naturally in animals.
Somewhere along the way during the week-plus of discussion about possible origins, likely during private phone calls and teleconferences, it was decided that the lab leak theory could be ruled out in favor of the natural evolution theory, despite serious concerns about the former and evidence that contradicted the latter.
Of particular note is a Feb. 8, 2020 email to others in the group from Kristian Anderson of Scripp's Research, who would later be the lead author of the "proximal origin" paper, in which he made it explicitly clear that the primary goal of the group was to "disprove" the possibility of the lab leak origin theory.
"The fact that Wuhan became the epicenter of the ongoing epidemic caused by nCoV [novel coronavirus] is likely an unfortunate coincidence, but it raises questions that would be wrong to dismiss out of hand," Anderson wrote. "Our main work over the last couple of weeks has been focused on trying to disprove any type of lab theory, but we are at a crossroad where the scientific evidence isn’t conclusive enough to say that we have high confidence in any of the three main theories considered."
He went on to express his hope that new research linking pangolins to the virus could be confirmed and also acknowledged that "giving the lab theory serious consideration has been highly effective at countering many of the circulating conspiracy theories, including HIV recombinants, bioengineering, etc."
"As to publishing this document in a journal," Anderson added, "I am currently not in favor of doing so. I believe that publishing something that is open-ended could backfire at this stage." He suggested waiting for "additional evidence" that would support "strong conclusive statements" but confessed that "I don't think we are there yet."
In the end, and despite the misgivings of Anderson and others, the paper was eventually published and everyone from Dr. Fauci to the mainstream media seized upon its admittedly speculative conclusions to then forcefully and repeatedly attempt to debunk and dismiss the lab leak theory.
Unfortunately, given the amount of time that has elapsed, to say nothing of deliberate stonewalling from the Chinese communist regime and even elements of the U.S. government, it is likely that humanity will never know with complete certainty whether the COVID-19 pandemic originated in the Wuhan lab or developed on its own in nature.