Speaking to host Sean Hannity, Mr. Paul claimed that Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), had lied about funding so-called “gain-of-function research.”
Gain-of-function research often involves manipulating viruses to make them more infectious. Some believe the coronavirus may have originated due to such an experiment, but its origins remain unclear.
Mr. Paul alleges that Dr. Fauci lied when he previously denied NIAID’s parent agency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China, where the virus first appeared.
Both men clashed over the claim during a Senate hearing earlier Tuesday.
“Knowing it is a crime to lie to Congress, do you wish to retract your statement of May 11 where you claimed that the NIH never funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan,” Mr. Paul asked in the hearing.
“Now does he deserve all the blame? No. There’s still some conjecture as to whether or not it came from the lab. But he‘s lying about whether or not he funded gain-of-function research and yes he should be punished,” Mr. Paul said about Dr. Fauci.
More than 4 million people worldwide have died from COVID-19, the contagious respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, since the first cases were reported in Wuhan in late December 2019.
The origins of the coronavirus remain under investigation. The Biden administration has said U.S. intelligence officials believe it likely originated from human contact with animals or a lab accident.
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