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Anthony Fauci’s emails go public, reignite COVID-19 theories about a ‘Wuhan lab leak’

The US infectious diseases czar Anthony Fauci has sent thousands of emails that have fuelled the fires about the origin theory of the coronavirus. They are now public and have led to social media claims that Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was part of an effort to hide the tracks that lead to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

This version of events is still speculation and there has not been any conclusive evidence to support it. Fauci, for his part, has called for a deeper investigation into the causes of the pandemic.

How came Fauci’s official email see the light?

The emails were obtained from US-based media outlets The Washington PostBuzzFeed News through Freedom of Information Act requests. The information was published by both outlets on June 1. These emails date back to last year and provide insight into Fauci’s approach to dealing with a crisis that was unfolding.

factcheck.org states that the separate tranches received by the media outlets correspond more or less with the period January-June 2020. BuzzFeed News has published all 3,234 pages it received in emails on a separate website.

What are they saying about the lab leakage?

The theory that the coronavirus was created in the Wuhan laboratory, which is located on the outskirts of the city where the first cases COVID-19 were discovered in December 2019, points to an email exchange between Fauci (a California virologist) and the Scripps Research Institute (a Scripps Research Institute).

Kristian Andersen (the Scripps researcher) wrote to Fauci on 31 January 2020 that “The unusual features in the virus (SarsCoV-2) only make up a small portion of the genome (0.1%) so one must look very closely at all sequences to see some of these features (potentially).

The term “engineered”, of course, is what has made lab leak supporters pause and take note. They were referring to Andersen’s complete turnaround in just a few weeks.

In a March 2013 article published in the journal Nature Medicine, Andersen and others stated that they don’t believe any laboratory-based scenario is possible. They explained that they had observed all the SARS-CoV-2 characteristics in related coronaviruses in nature. According to their argument, the virus could have been created by natural selection in an animal host before zoonotic transfers or in humans after zoonotic transfers. Andersen and other researchers agree that Sars-CoV-2 originated from bats. However, they believe it was transferred to humans by an intermediary animal host.

It is this failure to identify the intermediary animal host that fuels the claim that the virus originated from a laboratory.

Andersen was asked to explain his side of the story after Fauci’s emails were made public. The Scripps researcher, in his defense, pointed out the remainder of the 31 January 2020 mail he had sent to Fauci. In it, he had written that “we need to examine this more closely” and that there are still additional analyses to be made.
However, opinions can still change.” This is exactly what happened, and he dismissed the theory of a lab leak as improbable.

Andersen dismissed claims that researchers were in a rush to rule out the laboratory leak hypothesis. He clarified that the process they used to arrive at their position was “a textbook example for the scientific method in which a preliminary hypothesis can be rejected and a competing hypothesis is accepted as more data becomes available and analyses are complete”.

Where is Fauci’s stand?

Fauci was the one-stop-shop for all things COVID-19, offering advice with a measured and responsible voice as the pandemic ravaged governments and ordinary people. As speculation grew about the lab leak theory Fauci, an infectious diseases expert, discovered that he too was being influenced by conspiracy theorists.

Fauci’s NIAID, the National Institutes of Health under which Fauci operates, was discovered to have paid for the Wuhan lab’s virology research. Although it is not clear if US dollars were used in any controversial “gain-of-function” research the Chinese lab is accused of doing, Republican lawmakers have made calls for Fauci’s resignation.

Fauci was initially seen to have dismissed the laboratory leak hypothesis. However, he now says that an investigation into the source of the virus should be conducted. The US is determined to solve the problem. President Joe Biden has directed the US intelligence to investigate vigorously the origins of the COVID-19 epidemic.