In the wake of a document drop via FOIA request showing that the National Institute of Health funded gain-of-function research despite NIH Director Francis Collins and National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci arguing that they did not fund this research, Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri called upon Fauci to resign from his post.
"Anthony Fauci has repeatedly and deliberately mislead Congress and the American people. Resign. And face a congressional inquiry," wrote Hawley, responding to tweets from Professor Richard Ebright of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University.
Ebright wrote in a Twitter thread that "The materials show that the 2014 and 2019 NIH grants to EcoHealth with subcontracts to [the Wuhan Institute of Virology] funded gain-of-function research as defined in federal policies in effect in 2014-2017 and potential pandemic pathogen enhancement as defined in federal policies in effect in 2017-present."
"The materials confirm the grants supported the construction—in Wuhan—of novel chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses that combined a spike gene from one coronavirus with genetic information from another coronavirus, and confirmed the resulting viruses could infect human cells," Ebright added.
Ebright also noted that the documents reveal the "resulting novel, laboratory-generated SARS-related coronaviruses also could infect mice engineered to display human receptors on cells ('humanized mice')."
He added that one of these novel, laboratory-generated SARS-related coronaviruses was proven to be more pathogenic to said humanized mice than the starting virus from which it was constructed.
"The documents make it clear that assertions by the NIH Director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV are untruthful," Ebright concluded.
Senator Rand Paul and Fauci have frequently argued about gain-of function research during Congressional hearings earlier this summer, with Fauci stating numerous times that the NIH did not fund gain-of-function research in Wuhan, and that previously cited research did not count as gain-of-function research.
"Senator Paul, I have never lied before the Congress and I do not retract that statement," said Fauci in July as a response to questioning from Paul asking whether Fauci wanted to retract a previous statement saying the NIH did not fund gain-of-function research. "This paper that you are referring to was judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain of function."
"You take an animal virus, and you increase its transmissibility to humans, you're saying that's not gain of function?" Paul interjected.
"That is correct," Fauci said, "and Senator Paul you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially: You do not know what you are talking about."
During questioning in a May Senate hearing, Paul asked Fauci, "Do you still support funding of the NIH funding of the lab in Wuhan?"
"Senator Paul, 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 of Virology," responded Fauci.