by PAUL D. THACKER
A month after the pandemic’s outbreak in Wuhan, China, on New Year’s Eve 2019, a press officer at the National Institutes of Health emailed pandemic talking points to Anthony Fauci, who was leading the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Fauci’s NIAID oversaw a large program on biodefense and research on coronaviruses—the type of virus causing the pandemic, and which scientists abbreviate as “CoV.” The press officer noted that Fauci’s NIAID funded many of the world’s coronavirus experts, including Peter Daszak of the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance, Ralph Baric at the University of North Carolina, and Ian Lipkin of Columbia University.
“EcoHealth group (Peter Daszak et al) has for years been among the biggest players in coronavirus work, also in collaboration with Ralph Baric, Ian Lipkin and others,” the NIH officer wrote to Fauci on January 27. He then noted that Fauci was funding Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance’s research in China. “NIAID has funded Peter’s group for coronavirus research in China for the past five years.”
That next day, Jeremey Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, emailed Australian virologist Eddie Holmes to call him on his burner phone. The Wellcome Trust, one of the world’s largest funders of virology research ,and Farrar had bought a burner phone so that nobody could later subpoeana his phone records. “We should use different phones; avoid putting things in emails; and ditch our normal email addresses and phone contacts,” Farrar later admitted.
Fauci had also begun a series of calls and emails with various virologists, including Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research. Emailing Fauci, Andersen explained that he had analyzed the COVID virus genetic sequence and “some of the features (potentially) look engineered.” Andersen added that, while opinions could change, he and other virologists felt the virus was not natural or consistent with “expectations with evolutionary theory.”
Fauci thanked Andersen on February 1 and then joined a conference call later that day that Farrar organized with Eddie Holmes, Kristian Andersen and other virologists. “Obviously ask everyone to treat in total confidence,” Farrar emailed Fauci.
“The call with Jeremy Farrar (Wellcome Trust) went very well,” Fauci later emailed several government scientists, including Francis Collins who was the director of the NIH. “Francis Collins joined and there were several highly credible scientists (including and in addition to the two that I spoke with last night) on the call with expertise in evolutionary biology.”
Noting that virologists on the call were worried that the COVID virus may have been engineered, Fauci wrote, “They were concerned about the fact that upon viewing the sequences of several isolates of the nCoV, there were mutations in the virus that would be most unusual to have evolved naturally in the bats and that there was suspicion that this mutation was intentionally inserted.”
Fauci added that researchers in Wuhan were conducting dangerous “gain-of-function” studies to make bat coronaviruses more deadly and likely to infect humans. “The suspicion was heightened by the fact that the scientists in Wuhan University are known to have been working on gain-of-function experiments to determine the molecular mechanisms associated with bat viruses adapting to human infection, and the outbreak originated in Wuhan,” Fauci wrote.
These emails show that Fauci and many of the world’s top virologists knew by February 1, 2020, that Fauci was funding EcoHealth Alliance to do coronavirus research in China and that the COVID virus did not seem natural. Some virologists were even suspicious that a gene may have been inserted into the COVID virus—suspicions only heightened because Wuhan scientists were doing gain-of-function research to genetically modify bat coronaviruses. But instead of alerting the public, emails show that Fauci, Farrar, and multiple virologists began plotting to deny these same suspicions by orchestrating the publication of three scientific papers to label the possibility of a lab accident a “conspiracy theory.”