- The Washington Times
Thursday, June 24, 2021

OPINION:

How will the U.S. ever hold China accountable for the spread of the coronavirus if our government officials are complicit in the cover-up?

The U.S. National Institutes of Health deleted early coronavirus gene data sequences in one of their databases, at the request of the Chinese researchers, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The NIH confirmed to the Journal that it deleted the sequences after receiving a request from a Chinese researcher who submitted them three months earlier. The Chinese researcher promised the NIH they would refresh and upload new data in another database; however, it’s unclear if that ever happened.


The NIH told the Journal it deleted the data because “submitting investigators hold the rights to their data and can request withdrawal of the data,” so in other words, bureaucratic nonsense.

“It makes us wonder if there are other sequences like these that have been purged,” Vaughn S. Cooper, a University of Pittsburgh evolutionary biologist, told the Journal. The Journal reported the missing sequences weren’t likely to change researchers’ current understanding of the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic but do cast further doubt on China‘s cooperation and transparency in the investigation into the origin of the virus.

It’s also unclear the role Dr. Anthony Fauci played in aiding and abetting the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in their gain-of-function research. Dr. Fauci initially resisted an order from then-President Donald J. Trump to cancel a U.S. research grant for nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance linked to WIV, but “reluctantly agreed” after he learned Mr. Trump explicitly ordered its cancellation, Fox News reported after obtaining an advanced copy of the book, “Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History,” authored by two Washington Post reporters.

After the Obama administration banned U.S. funding of gain-of-function research in China, Dr. Fauci quietly reinstated it during the Trump years.

“Fauci was directly responsible in December of 2017 for lifting the ban on gain-of-function experiments – deemed extremely dangerous by the Obama Administration in 2014,” former senior advisor to President Trump Peter Navarro wrote on our pages. “As a White House official at the time familiar with process, I can tell you here that Dr. Fauci pulled a fast one on the Trump White House.”

Mr. Navarro continued: “Fauci went through the White House back door for approval rather than informing either the president or top senior officials. Fauci was both playing God and playing with a fire now consuming the world.”

Dr. Fauci’s emails early in the pandemic reveal how he was instrumental in casting doubt that the coronavirus outbreak could’ve been an accidental lab leak from the WIV. In early 2020, immunologist Kristian G. Andersen wrote him saying the virus had some “unusual features,” that could’ve been engineered in a lab. Yet, Dr. Fauci was reluctant to investigate that possibility and continued to share articles in favor of national origin.

Downplaying a potential lab leak early on was appreciated by the CEO of EcoHealth Alliance, which was conducting research at WIV in part with a $3.4 million NIH grant.

“I just wanted to say a personal thank you on behalf of our staff and collaborators, for publicly standing up and stating that the scientific evidence supports a natural origin,” Peter Daszak, CEO of EcoHealth Alliance, wrote Dr. Fauci in April 2020. “Your comments are brave, and coming from your trusted voice, will help dispel the myths being spun around the virus’ origins.”

When the Biden administration first came into office, they quietly ended a Trump-era State Department investigation into the origins of the coronavirus – which pointed to a WIV lab leak. It was only after reports came to light several Chinese researchers at the WIV went to the hospital in November 2019, shortly before the confirmed outbreak, that the Biden administration capitulate and open its own investigation into the origin.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has since said he believes the outbreak originated at the WIV and that there’s been enough evidence collected by U.S. intelligence agencies to confirm his suspicion.

If the Biden administration was serious about holding China accountable, they would declassify this information and permanently ban U.S. funding of gain-of-function research in China. But to do so, they may find that many U.S. institutions, like the NIH and Dr. Fauci, were culpable in the cover-up.

So be it. Americans deserve to know the truth, and our government bureaucracy needs to reform, based on lessons learned, to help prevent outbreaks like this in the future.


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