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Fauci consulted with colleagues about man-made Covid-19 theories, gain-of-function research in early days of pandemic, emails show

The messages, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by BuzzFeed, show that in the early days of the Covid-19 crisis, Fauci was eager to learn about laboratory experiments involving SARS-CoV, a strain of coronavirus. 

In an email dated February 1, 2020, Fauci wrote to the National Institutes for Allergies and Infectious Disease (NIAID) deputy director, Hugh Auchincloss, instructing him to read a paper and an article discussing SARS research, adding that they urgently needed to speak. “You have tasks today that must be done,” Fauci said. 

The email included an attachment, “SARS gain of function.pdf”. The file contained a paper published in Nature in 2015 called “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence.” 

Auchincloss wrote back saying that the paper “says the experiments were performed before the gain of function pause but have since been reviewed and approved by NIH.” He added that a colleague was trying to determine “if we have any distant ties to this work abroad.”

Gain-of-function research involves lab experiments on pathogens to make them either more contagious or more fatal. The research is billed as a way to help better understand how viruses work and prevent pandemics. 

A day later, on February 2, Fauci was made aware of a now-withdrawn paper that claimed Covid-19 shared similarities with HIV. In an email titled “More on evolution of coronavirus,” NIH Director Francis Collins shared the paper with Fauci, describing it as “roundly debunked.” 

“The Indian paper is really outlandish,” Fauci responded. 

In another email exchange from the same day, Fauci was told by Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, a London-based charity that focuses on health research, that World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Bernhard Schwartlander, his cabinet chief, were in “conclave,” presumably to discuss the WHO’s response to Covid-19. 

“If they do prevaricate, I would appreciate a call with you later tonight or tomorrow to think how we might take forward,” Farrar wrote, using a rather eloquent term for “evade.”

Farrar then added: “Meanwhile….,” and included a link to a ZeroHedge article about the HIV-Covid paper, titled: “Coronavirus Contains ‘HIV Insertions’, Stoking Fears Over Artificially Created Bioweapon.”

Fauci long maintained that Covid-19 was likely transmitted to humans by animals, but last month he conceded it was possible that the virus may be man-made. Although initially dismissed by media outlets, the theory that the virus may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology has gained prominence, as experts and intelligence officials state that it has merit. 

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