NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins testifies before a hearing looking into the budget estimates for National Institute of Health (NIH) and the state of medical research on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 26, 2021. (Sarah Silbiger/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Timothy H.J. Nerozzi | Fox News
However, conversations between public officials seem to indicate that some experts may have consciously chosen to suppress evidence that could fuel “conspiracists.”
“I really can’t think of a plausible natural scenario where you get from the bat virus … to nCoV where you insert exactly four amino acids 12 nucleotide that all have to be added at the exact same time to gain this function,” Dr. Robert Garry from Tulane’s School of Medicine said, according to notes from a February 2020 meeting released by House Republicans.
“I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature,” Garry added in his group comments at the time. “Don’t mention a lab origin, as that will just add fuel to the conspiracists.”
Now, fresh questions are being raised about what American scientists and federal health officials knew about the origins of the coronavirus and whether conflicting evidence was suppressed and hidden from the public.
White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci was warned as early as Jan. 27, 2020, that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) he oversaw was indirectly linked to the infamous Wuhan lab through EcoHealth, a U.S.-based scientific nonprofit that had been working with novel coronaviruses.
NIAID Principal Deputy Director Hugh Auchinloss floated the idea to Fauci that the research partially tied to the U.S. government may not have gone through the appropriate biosafety evaluations, saying that he will “try to determine if we have any distant ties” to the facility.
Dr. Kristian Anderson, a prominent virologist at the Scripps lab, told Fauci Jan. 31 2020, that “the genome is inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory,” an observation that points to synthetic manufacturing.
After Fauci was made aware of Anderson’s observations, a conference call with dozens of expert virologists around the world was organized.
Dr. Mike Farzan, another researcher at the Scripps lab, expressed doubts about the virus’s origins in nature at the time as well. However, Fauci and others in the meeting pointed to evidence that the virus originated in a seafood and wild animal market in Wuhan.
Investigation into the food hypothesis was complicated by the suspected market being shut down and scrubbed clean by Chinese authorities before a full analysis could be performed.
By the end of the meeting, then-National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins had tentatively sided with the natural causation theory, stating that an emphasis on blame for the outbreak could threaten “international harmony.”
“I am coming around to the view that a natural origin is more likely,” Collins wrote at the time. “But I share your view that a swift convening of experts in a confidence inspiring framework (WHO seems really the only option) is needed, or the voices of conspiracy will quickly dominate.”