Fauci defends stance on pandemic origin as congressional probe heats up

by mcardinal

Vicky Arias, FISM News

Dr. Anthony Fauci sat for an interview with CNN’s Jim Acosta on Saturday in which he claimed that he has “kept an open mind throughout the entire process” of tracing the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. The statment comes in light of a recent government memo claiming that he allegedly attempted to negate the notion of a lab leak.

Fauci has come under heavy fire, specifically from conservatives, for his insistance that the lab-leak theory was not valid. Several congressional Republicans, including Reps. Jim Jordan and James Comer, vowed to hold Fauci accountable for his role in “covering up” the origins of the virus now that the GOP garnered the majority in the House.

When asked by Acosta if his thinking has changed on the pandemic’s origins, from an animal source to a possible lab leak, Fauci stated that virologists “wrote two very important, well written peer-reviewed papers in Science Magazine, strongly suggesting that, in fact,” COVID was transmitted through “a natural occurrence from an animal to a human.”

“Strongly suggesting, [however], doesn’t nail it down definitively, and that’s the reason why I say, to this day, I will keep a completely open mind as to what the origin is,” Fauci continued.

The doctor went on to explain his theories on the ways in which the virus may have leaked from a lab.

“A lab leak could be that someone was out in the wild, maybe looking for different types of viruses and bats, got infected, went into a lab and was being studied in the lab and then it came out of the lab, but if that’s the definition of a lab leak, then there still is a natural occurrence,” Fauci said.

“The other possibility is someone takes a virus from the environment that doesn’t actually spread very well in humans, and manipulates it a bit and accidentally it escapes or accidentally infect[s] someone and then you get an outbreak,” Fauci added.

Fauci has been one of the targets of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. Last week the committee held a hearing on “Investigating the Origins of COVID-19,” where it found that “mounting evidence continues to show that COVID-19 may have originated from a lab in Wuhan, China,” according to a press release.


On Friday, the House of Representatives voted unanimously to declassify information relating to the origins of the pandemic. The Senate also previously approved the measure and the bill now awaits President Biden’s approval.

The bill follows the Energy Department’s changed stance on the outbreak’s origins, from “undecided” to a “low-confidence” assessment that the COVID outbreak originated from a lab leak.

Additionally, at the end of February, FBI Director Chistopher Wray said that the agency “has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, recently explained the need for transparency on COVID’s origins.

“The American people deserve answers to every aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic, including how this virus was created and specifically whether it was a natural occurrence or was the result of a lab-related event,” Turner said.

The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on March 5 released a memo stating that “new evidence…suggests that Dr. Fauci ‘prompted’ the drafting of a publication that would ‘disprove’ the lab leak theory.”

The memo alleges that Fauci, among others, asserted influence over Dr. Kristian Andersen, an immunology and microbiology professor for Scripps Research, to craft an origins report with the goal of refuting the idea that the pandemic emanated from a lab leak.

According to the memo, Dr. Andersen stated in a Feb. 8, 2020 email that the researchers’ “main work over the last couple of weeks [was] focused on trying to disprove any type of lab theory.”

Some conservatives point to this statement as attempting to backfill a pre-formed conclusion with evidence rather than allowing the evidence to lead wherever it may. 

CNBC reported Friday that despite continued theories on the origins of the pandemic stemming from an infected animal, “such an animal has not been identified three years after the pandemic began.”