Dr. Li-Meng Yan, a Chinese virologist, was one of the first to tout the Wuhan lab leak
A Chinese virologist who was among the first people to tout the Wuhan lab theory said the coronavirus is a bioweapon and Dr. Anthony Fauci was among the scientists and organizations who knew about it and tried to hide it.
In a Wednesday night interview on Newsmax, Dr. Li-Meng Yan said Fauci‘s emails, which were published by Buzzfeed and the Washington Post on Tuesday, proved he knew about the Chinese gain of function research before the pandemic started.
‘These people knew what happened, but they chose to hide for the Chinese Communist Party and their own benefits,’ Yan said.
She published three reports – two last year and one this year – and she didn’t mince words in latest report – published March 31: ‘The causative agent of COVID-19, is not a naturally occurring pathogen but an Unrestricted Bioweapon.
‘It is a product of the bioweapons program of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government, the network of which includes not only the CCP scientists but also certain overseas scientists and organizations.’
All three reports were published without peer review on Zenodo.
Dr. Yan on Newsmax Wednesday night
Dr. Yan said emails proved Fauci and other scientists knew the Chinese were still conducting gain of function research before the pandemic started
The Wuhan lab leak was considered at first to be a crazy conspiracy theory that was pushed by the far right to blame China for the pandemic until President Joe Biden said his administration is looking into it.
British intelligence reportedly assessed the theory recently and upgraded its likeliness from ‘remote’ to ‘feasible’, according to The Sunday Times.
Yan referenced one of these emails during her interview with Newsmax.
On February 1, 2020, one of Fauci’s direct reports, Dr. Hugh Auchincloss, wrote in an email to Fauci that the ‘experiments were performed before the gain of function pause but have since been reviewed and approved by NIH (National Institutes of Health).’
Fauci and Auchincloss were discussing a paper that Fauci sent him.
Email exchange between Dr. Anthony Fauci and one of his direct reports, Dr. Hugh Auchincloss
The idea the coronavirus escaped from a Wuhan lab was at best a ‘fringe theory’ until recently, when the Biden administration ordered a review
ORIGINS OF COVID-19: THE THEORIES
US state officials have given momentum to the idea that COVID-19 either leaked from a lab or was man-made by China as some kind of weapon against humanity.
A Wuhan wet market was first thought to be the breeding ground of the virus, where the selling of live, wild animals would have given the perfect opportunity for it to naturally spread between species.
It is thought the virus first developed in bats before passing on to a creature such as a pangolin that then came into contact with humans and transmitted the virus.
Once it entered humans, the coronavirus is likely to have mutated to survive and then escalated out of control as a result of an unprepared population.
There are also theories that the virus was genetically engineered by scientists, or that it has actually been around for years and even killed people in the past.
Two high security laboratories in the city – the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control and the Wuhan Institute of Virology – have been the subject of many conspiracy theories.
President Donald Trump claims he has seen evidence the virus, which he solely blames China for, came from Wuhan Institute of Virology – but he is not allowed to reveal it.
The Institute has denied the claims from the early days of the outbreak.
In April, Trump said: ‘We are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation that happened.’
Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, claimed in May there is ‘enormous evidence’ the coronavirus outbreak originated in a Chinese laboratory – but failed to provide any of the alleged evidence.
Gain of function research involves experimentation that aims to increase the transmissibility and/or virulence of pathogens.
In her March 31 report, Yan wrote, ‘SARS-CoV-2 was created based on template viruses ZC45 and ZXC21, which were originally discovered in bats by scientists of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
‘The subsequent laboratory modifications had enabled its ability to infect humans as well as had enhanced the virus in its pathogenicity, transmissibility, and lethality.’
An MIT peer review, which concluded by admonishing Yang’s work, said, ‘If valid, these lines of evidence would support the disturbing claim that SARS-CoV-2 is a man-made virus; however, if the claims are not adequately substantiated, this work is defamatory, grossly negligent, and ethically dubious.’
Yan, a postdoctoral fellow at Hong Kong University before she fled to the United States in April, told The Washington Post in February that she used Zenodo because of its ability to instantly publish information without restrictions.
Zenodo is a research repository used for publishing scientific findings without reviews.
She told The Washington Post that she feared the Chinese government would obstruct publication of her work.
Since her reports were published, she’s been ostracized. Twitter shut down her account for months. Scientists from leading American universities downplayed her trilogy of reports, saying they’re deeply flawed.
Zenodo, where Yan published her reports without any review, posted a warning at the top of her research paper saying, ‘Caution: Potentially Misleading Contents.’
‘Consistently critical peer review has been received that this record does not follow the norms of scientific rigour or balance, and thus the main claims may not stand the test of scientific scrutiny.’
Despite the controversy and backlash, her September 21, 2020 paper has been viewed over 1.2million times and used in multiple wing-ring reports.
Now that the Biden administration is joining worldwide pressure for China to be more open about the outbreak, her work is being brought to the forefront.
China, meanwhile, insists that the virus simply mutated and passed naturally from animals to humans, likely from a market in the city of Wuhan.
Last week, Biden ordered intelligence officials to ‘redouble’ efforts to establish the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and report back in 90 days and directed U.S. national laboratories to assist with the investigation.
In Wednesday night and Thursday morning television interviews, Fauci has kept the door open for the possibility that the coronavirus was the result of a Chinese lab leak, but doubled down, saying multiple times it’s unlikely.
‘I have always said and will say today to you … that I still believe the most likely origin is from an animal species to a human,’ Fauci said Thursday morning on CNN.
‘The idea, I think, is quite far-fetched that the Chinese deliberately engineered something so that they could kill themselves, as well as other people. I think that’s a bit far out.’
The Twitter account remained down on Wednesday and a message on the page now reads: ‘Account suspended. Twitter suspends accounts which violate the Twitter Rules.’ Twitter has not commented on the suspension of Yan’s account
Yan appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight show on Tuesday night. After the segment aired, the Fox News show also accused Facebook of censorship after saying they had been blocked from sharing the interview segment on the social media platform
Emails reveal Dr Fauci was thanked by Wuhan lab for publicly dismissing COVID leak theory at the start of the pandemic and was courteous to Chinese counterparts in private but critical of them in public
Dr. Anthony Fauci‘s emails reveal the contrast between his public and private sentiments, showing what the top infectious disease expert said behind the scenes.
The trove of emails obtained through public records requests and published on Tuesday by Buzzfeed and the Washington Post offers a rare glimpse behind the curtain as Fauci responded to the pandemic last year.
Often, his public and private sentiments were aligned, such as his skepticism about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19.
At times they diverged, including his collegial tone with Chinese counterparts even as he publicly criticized China for withholding information in the early days of the pandemic.
The emails shed little light on Fauci’s views on the origin of the pandemic, but reveal that he received multiple warnings that the virus showed signs of laboratory tampering.
Origins of COVID-19: Fauci was warned privately of lab leak possibility but dismissed it in public
Fauci’s emails do not reveal his personal take on the theory that coronavirus escaped from a lab in China, but show that multiple experts warned him of the possibility.
In January 2020, Fauci corresponded with virus researcher Kristian Andersen who wrote of the novel coronavirus that ‘some of the features (potentially) look engineered.’ Andersen later disavowed this view and said further research discounted it.
On February 21, 2020 Fauci received an email from a Cornell University professor concerned that the virus had escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. ‘Please handle,’ Fauci wrote to a colleague as he forwarded the message.
On April 16, 2020, Francis Collins, the director of the National Institute of Health, sent Fauci and email with the subject line ‘conspiracy gains momentum’ with a link to a Fox News article suggesting the Wuhan lab as the likely source of the virus.
Fauci replied on April 17 at 2.45am but his response was redacted.
In public, Fauci had been insistent that the virus did not originate from a lab leak for nearly a year, before walking back his certainty last month.
‘There was a study recently that we can make available to you, where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there and the sequences in bats as they evolve, and the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human,’ Fauci said at a press conference on April 17, 2020.
On April 18, 2020, Fauci received an email from the head of a research group which partners with the Wuhan Institute of Virology thanking him for publicly insisting that the evidence did not point to the lab as the source.
‘Many thanks for your kind note,’ Fauci responded.
At a briefing last month, after mounting evidence in support of the lab leak theory, Fauci hedged, saying: Many of us feel that it is more likely that this is a natural occurrence, as has happened with SARS-CoV-1, where it goes from an animal reservoir to a human.’
‘But we don’t know 100 percent the answer to that … So, because we don’t know 100 percent what the origin is, it’s imperative that we look and we do an investigation. And that’s how we feel right now,’ he said.
In an interview with CNN on Thursday responding to the release of his emails, Fauci said that he is ‘keeping an open mind that it might be a lab leak’ but dismissed the idea of bioengineering as ‘far out’.
Working with China: Fauci was courteous to Chinese counterparts in private but critical in public
Fauci exchanged several emails in March and April of 2020 with George Gao, the head of the Chinese CDC.
Fauci did not ask Gao any questions about the origins of the virus.
In one exchange, Gao apologized for an article quoting him as saying that Fauci’s then stance against public mask wearing was a ‘big mistake’.
‘I understand completely. No problem. We will get through this together,’ Fauci replied.
Less than a week later, Gao emailed Fauci again expressing his support amid the onslaught of attacks.
‘I saw some news (hope it is fake) that you are being attacked by some people. Hope you are well under such a irrational situation,’ Gao wrote on April 8.
‘Thank you for your kind note. All is well despite some crazy people in this world,’ Fauci replied three days later.
In public, Fauci was polite but critical of China for failing to disclose key information early in the pandemic.
‘If we had known that this was highly transmissible early on when it was just in China, I think other countries would have maybe been more quick on the trigger to try and inhibit travel from China to their country,’ he said in an interview on April 3, 2020.
On April 10, 2020 he told Fox News: ‘early on we did not get correct information and the incorrect information was propagated right from the beginning.’
White House censorship: Fauci denied being ‘muzzled’ and said he always said what he wanted based on scientific evidence
On March 1, 2020, Fauci responded to an email from a member of the public who expressed concern that he was being ‘muzzled’ by the Trump administration and offering to make an outcry.
‘Please stay silent since I have not been muzzled,’ Fauci responded. ‘I will be on multiple TV shows tomorrow and was on FOX this AM. No one is censoring me.’
”I have been very explicit in stating publicly that I am not being muzzled or censored,’ he wrote in another email the following day.
‘I say exactly what I want to say based on scientific evidence, I have stated this on multiple TV programs over the past few days including at a major press conference with many, many reporters present including several TV cameras. I could not possibly be more public about this. No censor. No muzzle. Free to speak out.’
Publicly, Fauci also denied being ‘muzzled’ early in the pandemic, but once Trump left office suggested that he had been ‘blocked’ from certain appearances.
On January 23, 2021, just three days into President Joe Biden’s term, Fauci appeared on Rachel Madow’s MSNBC show, an interview he implied Trump’s administration had denied.
‘I’ve been wanting to come on your show for months and months — you’ve been asking me to come on your show for months and months — and it’s just gotten blocked,’ he told Madow.
‘I mean, let’s call it what it is. It just got blocked, because they didn’t like the way you handled things and they didn’t want me on here.’
Hydroxychloroquine: Fauci expressed doubts in private and in public
Early on, Fauci expressed doubts about the immunosuppressive drug hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19.
A small French study, which was not randomized for proper control, suggested that the cheap drug could help patients with severe COVID, and Donald Trump seized on the possibility to Fauci’s dismay.
”There are no data in this brief report and so I have no way of evaluating their claim. There are a lot of these types of claims going around. I would love to see their data,’ Fauci wrote on February 22, 2020.
‘Although there is anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin may benefit people with COVID-19, we need solid data from a large randomized, control led clinical trial to determine whether this experimental treatment is safe and can improve clinical outcomes,’ he wrote in another email of April 22, 2020.
”We will know soon whether hydroxychloroquine has any beneficial effects as the results of randomized, controlled trials become available,’ he wrote on May 1, 2020.
In public, Fauci was also dismissive, dismissing the French study at a March 20, 2020 press conference as Trump looked on.
‘The information that you’re referring to specifically is anecdotal,’ he told a reporter. ‘It was not done in a controlled clinical trial. So you really can’t make any definitive statement about it.’
Masks: Fauci flip-flopped in private emails and in public
Fauci’s evolving views on masks were just as evident in his private emails as they were in his public statements.
‘Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection,’ he wrote in a February 5, 2020 email. ‘I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a vey low risk location…’
Two days later, he delivered the same advice on CNN, saying ‘A lot of people are wearing masks that don’t need them.’
‘A lot of people feel that they need to be wearing masks, even though, unless you’re right in the middle of a situation where’s a lot of people coughing and sneezing — that really we don’t recommend routinely, that people wear masks,’ he said.
By late March, Fauci was changing his tune in public and private.
‘There are some data from NIH that indicate that mere speaking without coughing elicits aerosols that travel a foot or two. If that is the case, then perhaps universal wearing of masks in the most practical way to go,’ he wrote in an email on March 31, 2020.
He explained his reasoning in an interview with NBC one day earlier.
‘Given the fact that there is a degree of transmission from asymptomatic individuals who may not know that they’re infected, we need to at least examine the possibility, as long as we’re absolutely certain we don’t take the masks away from who are health care providers who need them,’ he said.
‘It doesn’t need to be a classical mask. But something that would have someone prevent them from infecting others.’