The claim that the virus that causes COVID-19 definitely was not from a laboratory, put forth in a paper quietly shaped by Dr. Anthony Fauci that was cited by other scientists who called the lab idea a “conspiracy theory,” was “antithetical to science,” a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director says.
“The purpose of science is to have rigorous debate about different hypotheses. I’ve never really experienced in my life where there was private telephone calls among scientists that had a decision on what position they would take collectively, and to see that position then published in a scientific journal like Lancet, to say that individuals that thought like myself, had a different scientific hypothesis, somehow had to be put down and viewed as conspirators, this is really antithetical to science,” Dr. Robert Redfield, the agency’s head until Jan. 20, 2021, said during a Jan. 26 appearance on Fox News.
Emails recently made public show that Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), played a key role in shaping a paper published by Nature in early 2020.
The authors, most of whom messaged repeatedly with Fauci, joined him on a teleconference shortly before the paper was published, and have since received millions from Fauci’s agency, claimed that their analyses “clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.”
The Nature article was one of those cited by EcoHealth Alliance founder Peter Daszak and a separate group of scientists in an article later published in The Lancet. “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin,” wrote Daszak, whose group funneled money from Fauci’s agency to scientists in Wuhan, China, and the other authors.
Many experts later acknowledged there’s no clear evidence that the CCP virus has a natural origin, and some have said the bulk of the evidence points to it coming from the set of laboratories in Wuhan.
Redfield is one of them.
“I don’t think it’s biologically plausible that this virus emerged from a bat to some intermediate species into humans and became one of the most transmissible viruses that we know in human disease. This virus clearly had a detour and that detour was being educated how to infect human tissue in the laboratory. I think that’s the most plausible explanation,” he told Fox.
Dr. Francis Collins, Fauci’s boss when he was the head of the National Institutes of Health, and Fauci were trying to “protect science” by suppressing debate over the virus origins, Redfield posited. The problem is, “there’s very limited data” to support their position, he told Fox.
Asked if Fauci, who has been in his position since 1985, should be fired, Redfield demurred but said he did think Fauci should “reflect on this and then provide the science leadership that we need to move forward.”
“I have a lot of respect for him over the years. I think he needs to step back and not try to second guess and make things a way that he thinks the world can hear. We should just tell the truth,” Redfield said.
NIAID didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Redfield also said that he believes scientists will eventually solve the mystery of the origin of the virus.