Sen. Rand Paul reflects on NIH admitting to gain-of-function research in Wuhan

On Balance with Leland Vittert

(NewsNation Now) —  Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) says he’s glad the National Institutes of Health has come clean about the U.S. funding gain-of-function research in a lab in Wuhan, China.

“For over months and months, we’ve been saying that the NIH funded the Wuhan lab,” said Paul during his appearance on NewsNation’s “On Balance.” “We’ve been saying that they funded gain-of-function research, where they take a virus from nature and combine it with another virus, and create a virus that’s not known in nature that can be more dangerous, that can cause a pandemic. They denied that. Now, we have the evidence from NIH, and it looks like NIH is starting to point fingers.”

NIH principal deputy director Lawrence Tabak admitted in a letter Wednesday that EcoHealth Alliance, a U.S. nonprofit that funneled NIH money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, was not being transparent about the work it was doing. The report said EcoHealth’s “limited experiment” was testing if “spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ace2 receptor in a mouse model.”

The NIH report added: “EcoHealth failed to report this finding right away, as was required by the terms of the grant. EcoHealth is being notified that they have five days from today to submit to NIH any and all unpublished data from the experiments and work conducted under this award.”

Paul said although the report is out, he believes Dr. Anthony Fauci isn’t going to own up to this anytime soon. 

“I think mainly he’s been covering this up since that flurry of emails on Jan. 31, a year ago. He’s been covering it up because he doesn’t want the responsibility for the epidemic at his door.”

The admission from the NIH fully challenges Fauci’s testimony to Congress about the U.S. funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan.

During his testimony in May, Fauci said multiple times that NIH does not fund gain-of-function research in Wuhan. In that same hearing, Paul pushed back on Fauci. He believes Fauci lied because of his love of “gain of function” research. 

“Throughout the years, he was a big supporter of gain-of-function. He even said that even if we have an outbreak, the research would be worth it,” Paul said. As recently as a month ago, he was still saying that, “We should fund research in China; he doesn’t seem to have learned his lesson.”

Paul also noted the NIH is still conducting research in Wuhan with EcoHealth Alliance. U.S. intelligence agencies are currently exploring theories that an accidental leak from that lab could have led to the global pandemic.

When it comes to the pandemic, Paul said he believes that the U.S. has gotten to herd immunity with COVID-19 cases going down.

“I think we got to a point of herd immunity for the wild variant, the original virus, but now with a delta variant, we’re once again sort of working our way back to close to herd immunity where it’ll slow down. The question (is), will this be the last variant or not?”

He also believes that the COVID-19 vaccines do help people, especially those who are at risk. He also said he believes in other forms of treatment.

“I think the monoclonal antibodies can save your life, but you got to get them in time. I’m also a believer that the inhaled steroids given early in the course of the disease can prevent some of the over-exuberant reactions that people get in their lungs.”

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