Outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, February 3, 2021 (Thomas Peter/Reuters)
Early in the pandemic, multiple scientists urged NIAID Director Anthony Fauci and NIH Director Francis Collins to seriously consider the theory that Covid escaped from a Chinese laboratory, arguing that the lab-leak theory, which Fauci and Collins have downplayed since the pandemic began, was more plausible than the natural origin explanation.
Mike Farzan, an immunology researcher and the discoverer of the SARS receptor, Bob Garry, a virology expert, and Dr. Andrew Rambaut, a British evolutionary biologist, all observed that a particular feature of the virus, the “furin cleavage site,” was peculiar and suggested gain-of-function engineering. Their comments were made during a February 2020 conference call of experts, the notes of which were presented to Fauci and Collins and obtained by congressional Republicans.
One month later, in March 2020, Collins said the lab-leak hypothesis was “outrageous.” Similarly, in May 2020, Fauci told National Geographic that Covid “could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated.”
In his summary, Farzan stated that SARS-CoV-2 had the marking of laboratory experimentation that resulted in a virus that immediately proved highly infectious to humans.
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