Fauci’s comments from 2012 about gain-of-function research contradict sworn congressional testimony
WASHINGTON—Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) pressed Dr. Anthony Fauci to explain the discrepancy in his sworn congressional testimony about taxpayer-funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
“House Republicans remain concerned about the origins of COVID-19, including the increasing possibility it originated and subsequently leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China,” wrote Ranking Members Comer and Jordan. “Using your own definition, it appears the National Institutes of Health funded gain-of-function research at the WIV.”
In a 2012 video, Dr. Fauci stated at a medical conference that gain-of-function research includes reverse genetics. In 2014, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. a grant to study bat coronaviruses, allowing the nonprofit to test coronavirus transmission by using reverse genetics. EcoHealth Alliance then awarded taxpayer funds to WIV. However, in May 2021, Dr. Fauci testified under oath that the “NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research” at the WIV, appearing to contradict his earlier comments.
In their letter to Dr. Fauci, Ranking Members Comer and Jordan call on him to confirm the authenticity of his comments made in the 2012 video, verify the accuracy of the 2014 EcoHealth Alliance grant description, and explain the apparent discrepancy in his recent congressional testimony.
June 9, 2021
Dear Dr. Fauci:
House Republicans remain concerned about the origins of COVID-19, including the increasing possibility it originated and subsequently leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China.
At a 2012 conference entitled “Gain-of-Function Research on HPA1 H5N1 Viruses,” you said, “[w]hat historically investigators have done is to actually create gain-of-function by making mutations, passage adoption, or other genetic techniques, such as reverse genetics.”
In 2014, you, through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. (EcoHealth) a grant entitled “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence.” This grant allowed EcoHealth to “[t]est predictions of [coronavirus]…transmission…using reverse genetics…”Funds from this grant were subsequently awarded to the WIV. Using your own definition, it appears the NIH funded gain-of-function research at the WIV.
On May 11, 2021, while testifying under oath, you stated, “[t]he NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the [WIV].” This appears to contradict your 2012 statement regarding gain-of-function research and the WIV.
Can you please confirm the authenticity of the 2012 video accessible on the YouTube platform? Further, please verify that the 2014 grant description is accurate and explain the apparent discrepancy in your recent testimony?
The Committee on Oversight and Reform is the principal oversight committee of the U.S. House of Representatives and has broad authority to investigate “any matter” at “any time” under House Rule X. Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this inquiry.
James Comer, Ranking Member, Committee on Oversight and Reform
Jim Jordan, Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary