Anthony Fauci and the Wuhan Lab

Emails add to the mystery over U.S. funds for risky research.


By The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)

June 3, 2021


Anthony Fauci’s email correspondence from the early days of the pandemic have ignited a spate of recriminations over masks and the doctor’s celebrity. But what really matters is that some of the emails raise more questions about the origin of Covid-19.


As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Fauci cast doubt on the theory that Covid-19 came from a laboratory like the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). After ruling it out several times, he publicly said last month it is possible, as the hypothesis was getting a second look in media and academia.


The emails, released after media freedom-of-information requests, show that Dr. Fauci followed debates about Covid-19’s origin from the beginning. In early 2020, the immunologist Kristian G. Andersen wrote to him that the virus had some “unusual features” hinting at manipulation in a lab setting.


Mr. Andersen later published a paper rejecting the lab-leak theory for lack of evidence. And Dr. Fauci began sharing articles arguing in favor of a natural origin while giving advice to scientists writing about the issue. But conclusive proof of a zoonotic origin hasn’t emerged, and it’s reasonable to ask why Dr. Fauci was slow to accept the possibility of a lab leak.


Of particular interest: From 2014-19, the National Institutes of Health sent $3.4 million to the WIV through the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance. “I just wanted to say a personal thankyou on behalf of our staff and collaborators, for publicly standing up and stating that the scientific evidence supports a natural origin,” EcoHealth Alliance chief Peter Daszak gushed to Dr. Fauci in a partly redacted April 2020 email. “Your comments are brave, and coming from your trusted voice, will help dispel the myths being spun around the virus’ origins.”


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