COVID-19 May Have Come From Chinese Laboratory, Dr. Fauci’s Former Boss Says

Dr. Francis Collins testified behind closed doors to a congressional panel.

COVID-19 may have come from a laboratory in China, a former National Institutes of Health (NIH) director said during recent closed-door congressional testimony.

Dr. Francis Collins, the NIH director until late 2021, said that the theory that COVID-19 came from a lab in Wuhan “is not a conspiracy theory,” according to the U.S. House of Representatives Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The panel has released a summary of Dr. Collins’s transcribed interview since it took place on Jan. 12.

Dr. Collins, 73, who’s still President Joe Biden’s science adviser, was director of the NIH from 2009 to 2021. He also was the boss of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who helped craft the U.S. pandemic response.

Dr. Fauci, 83, who left the government in 2022, also told members in recent closed-door testimony that the lab leak hypothesis isn’t a conspiracy theory, according to the subcommittee.

The former officials were brought in as part of the panel’s investigation into how the government responded to the pandemic.

Drs. Collins and Fauci “prompted” the drafting of a paper called “Proximal Origins,” which was published in early 2020 and claimed to disprove the lab leak theory, according to an email from one of the authors. Neither Dr. Collins nor Dr. Fauci was named in the acknowledgments or listed as a co-author of the paper.

Two months after the paper was published, Dr. Collins wrote to Dr. Fauci about public discussions concerning the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“I hoped the Nature Medicine article on the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 would settle this. … Wondering if there is something NIH can do to help put down this very destructive conspiracy. … Anything more we can do?” Dr. Collins wrote at the time.

Dr. Fauci, meanwhile, promoted “Proximal Origins” from the White House podium before alleging he couldn’t recall the names of the authors.

A number of experts and outlets have backtracked on their earlier position that COVID-19 didn’t come from a lab, including The Washington Post and the U.N.’s World Health Organization.

Dr. Collins told the subcommittee that Dr. Fauci invited him to attend a Feb. 1, 2020, conference call that featured scientists who went on to write “Proximal Origins,” according to the subcommittee.

“This testimony directly contradicts Dr. Fauci’s previous statements and raises further concerns about the U.S. government’s role in suppressing and vilifying the lab-leak hypothesis,” said the panel, which is chaired by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio).Dr. Fauci said that social distancing, or rules that required or advised people to maintain six feet of distance from others, likely wasn’t based on any data.

“It just sort of appeared,” Dr. Fauci was quoted as saying.

Dr. Collins also said that social distancing “was likely not based on any science or data,” according to the subcommittee. Social distancing underpinned a range of measures, including forcing children to stay home from school on some days after schools reopened.

Dr. Collins also reiterated attacks he’s made against the Great Barrington Declaration, which called for protecting vulnerable people such as the elderly and letting younger, healthy people live largely without restrictions, the subcommittee said.

Dr. Collins told Dr. Fauci via email on Oct. 8, 2020, that the declaration was written by “three fringe epidemiologists,” even though the authors included professors from Harvard and Stanford medical schools, and that “there needs to be a quick and devastating published take down of its premises.”

“You have a federal government figure abusing his power,” Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, one of the authors, previously told The Epoch Times. “Why? Because he couldn’t stand the idea that there were prominent scientists that disagreed with him about pandemic policy.”

Transcripts of the testimony from Drs. Collins and Fauci haven’t yet been released, although members of the subcommittee say they will be disclosed at some point.

 

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