Former CDC director: Gain-of-function research "probably caused the greatest pandemic our world has seen"

No kidding. However, don’t consider Robert Redfield a johnny-come-lately to the lab-leak explanation for COVID-19’s origin. Almost exactly two years ago, just after the former CDC director took his leave of the Biden administration, Redfield stunned CNN host Sanjay Gupta by declaring his conclusion that the pandemic started as a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and resulted from gain-of-function (GOF) research funded in part by the US despite warnings against it.


Two years later, Redfield declared himself even more convinced today of his conclusions. Redfield testified today at a hearing of the House select subcommittee on the pandemic, and he didn’t hold back:

Redfield also argues that GOF created the virus, and the global pandemic, just as scientists warned would happen in 2014:

This brings us back to the reasons why the lab-leak theory got so enthusiastically suppressed by both the government and the media. In 2014, a group of scientists formed the Cambridge Working Group to urge governments to stop funding GOF, as both too dangerous and not valuable enough to pursue. When Francis Collins lifted a moratorium on GOF in December 2017, CWG founder Marc Lipitsch offered a prescient warning about what would happen, as I wrote earlier:


Marc Lipsitch (Harvard University, MA, USA) is a founding member of the Cambridge Working Group. “I still do not believe a compelling argument has been made for why these studies are necessary from a public health point-of-view; all we have heard is that there are certain narrow scientific questions that you can ask only with dangerous experiments”, he said. “I would hope that when each HHS review is performed someone will make the case that strains are all different, and we can learn a lot about dangerous strains without making them transmissible.” He pointed out that every mutation that has been highlighted as important by a gain-of-function experiment has been previously highlighted by completely safe studies. “There is nothing for the purposes of surveillance that we did not already know”, said Lipsitch. “Enhancing potential pandemic pathogens in this manner is simply not worth the risk.”

It took only 23 months for Lipsitch’s warning to turn into reality. And it wasn’t long after that when Anthony Fauci pushed for a quick “study” to cover up the likeliest explanation of the pandemic, which would have forced Fauci, Collins, and others to explain why they ignored the CWG warnings and restarted funding for GOF in Wuhan — especially after the State Department explicitly warned that they were failing to adhere to proper biosafety protocols for that kind of research.


A former New York Times science editor testified in today’s hearing that he would like to hear answers about that as well:

“Fauci was probably not too pleased to hear that the virus might have escaped from research that his agency had funded,” Nicholas Wade, who also served as an editor for the journals Nature and Science, told the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. …

The journalist and author pointed the finger of blame squarely at Fauci and former NIH Director Francis Collins, saying: “It’s hard to believe that in the twilight of their long careers they would seriously mishandle an issue as important as the origin of the COVID virus, yet that is what the evidence seems to point to.”

“The national media swallowed the natural origins story unskeptically, and once committed to it, failed to report important contrary evidence,” he added.

Dr. Kristian Andersen said Fauci and Collins had “prompted” him to write a study to debunk the lab leak theory, according to a Feb. 12, 2020, cover email submitted with an article on the subject to Nature Medicine. The article was published five days later and was cited by Fauci from the White House briefing room two months later — without revealing his own role in its creation.

It was a cover-up from the beginning, and the media colluded in it every step of the way. The only question now is what kind of accountability can be applied, and whether we have stopped playing with GOF entirely at this point.


Update: Redfield had more to add, as it turns out. And it’s a doozy:

Trump administration CDC Director Robert Redfield told a congressional committee Wednesday that his former colleague, Anthony Fauci, and former National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins froze him out of discussions on Covid-19’s origins.

The accusation came during a politically charged hearing Wednesday of the House Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic and stoked Republican claims that Fauci in early 2020 promoted the view that an infected animal spread the virus to humans to divert attention from research the U.S. sponsored at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“It was told to me that they wanted a single narrative and then I obviously had a different point of view,” Redfield told representatives.

Fauci denied it, but given the recent revelations about his role in producing a “study” for political cover just as the pandemic was breaking out, one can assess who’s been more consistent with the truth here.

Update: Let’s not forget how loyal Fauci can be, however:

A scientist who cowrote a paper dismissing the lab-leak theory for COVID-19, which he said had been “prompted” by Dr. Anthony Fauci, received the first of several large federal grants for his lab just two months after the “Proximal Origin” paper was published, according to existing records brought to national attention Wednesday at a high-profile congressional hearing.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, directed by Fauci until this year, has awarded nearly $8 million to a project led by Scripps Research Institute immunologist Kristian Andersen’s lab since May 20, 2020.

The awards were hiding in plain sight but the attention at the first hearing of the Republican-led House coronavirus pandemic subcommittee.


Follow the money.

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