'Entirely and completely incorrect': Fauci shuts down Rand Paul's baseless claim that NIH helped 'juice up' virus

'Entirely and completely incorrect': Fauci shuts down Rand Paul's baseless claim that NIH helped 'juice up' virus
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Fauci Testifies before Senate Committee amid feud with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pushed back against Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) recent remarks about the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and gain of function research funding.

On Tuesday, May 11, when Fauci testified before the Senate Committee, Paul sounded off with a litany of complaints about Dr. Ralph Barrett, a United States virologist who has been working with scientists in a virus laboratory at the Wuhan Virology Institute. Paul insisted that Barrett had participated in gain of function research that could subsequently make viruses far more lethal.

"Think about that," Paul continued. "The SARS virus had a 15% mortality rate and we are fighting a pandemic that has about a 1% mortality [rate]. Can you imagine if a SARS virus that has been juiced up and had viral proteins added to it, if that were released accidentally? Do still support funding of the NIH funding of the lab in Wuhan?"

Paul also said, "Instead, government authorities self-interested in continuing gang of function research say there is nothing to see here. Gain of function research, as you know, is juicing up naturally occurring animal viruses to infect humans."

CNN / Fauci www.youtube.com

Fauci quickly shut Paul down, offering facts about Dr. Barrett, the NIH, and its work with the Wuhan Institute.

"With all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect that the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan institute," Fauci clarified. "We do not fund -- Dr. Barrett does not do gain of function research, and if it is, it is according to the guidelines and is being conducted in North Carolina."

Paul shot back saying, "You do not think that ... is gain of function [research]?" Paul shot back. "You'd be in the minority because at least 200 scientists have signed a statement saying that it is gain of function."

Refusing to back down, Fauci firmly reiterated his answer. "It is not," Fauci firmly responded. "If you look at the grant and the progress reports, it is not gain of function despite the fact that people tweet that... We do not send money to that institute."

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