White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged during a congressional hearing this week that grant money from the National Institutes of Health has gone to the Chinese lab increasingly believed to have been the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, a frequent foe in the Senate is calling for him to answer questions under oath.
Fauci faces mounting criticism
According to Breitbart, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has repeatedly clashed with Fauci during previous hearings, wants the medical expert to testify about the NIH grant money, specifically whether it was used for “gain of function” study of viruses such as COVID-19.
Such studies refer to scientists experimenting with a particular virus in order to make it pathogenic or more easily transmissible and are ostensibly used to prepare for a future pandemic.
During a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, Fauci admitted that $600,000 in grant money had gone through non-profit organization EcoHealth Alliance and ended up at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
While he affirmed that a “modest” amount of taxpayer money ultimately funded the lab, he “categorically” denied that it had been used for gain of function research, the New York Post reported.
For his part, Paul apparently had a hard time accepting Fauci’s answers at face value and insisted during an interview on Wednesday that Fauci should be subjected to further questioning.
“Experimenting with the SARS virus”
“I think Dr. Fauci should be made to testify under oath about the money that was given to the lab,” the Kentucky Republican said during an appearance on Fox News Channel’s America’s Newsroom.
Paul went on to reveal that he “passed an amendment on the Senate floor that says no more gain of function money can be sent to China.”
Stressing the perceived importance of such a move, he said a much more deadly virus could be the next to escape from a Chinese lab. He went on to note that 11 U.S. labs perform similar research.
“I mean, they are experimenting with the SARS virus, which is 15 times more deadly than COVID-19,” Paul said. “COVID-19 kills 1% — that’s been 3 million people. If SARS got out of the lab, that could be 50 million people.”
As for Fauci’s possible role, Paul said: “He was responsible for giving this money, so he has every incentive to cover it up and not reveal the truth about it because if the pandemic did come from the lab he would have great culpability in this, so he can’t be investigating this, nor can any of his people that he picks be investigating this. He needs to be excluded from the investigation.”