Emails show the agenda for the one-hour meeting was short: Farrar was responsible for kicking off the meeting with: “Introduction, focus and desired outcomes.” Andersen came next, charged with providing: “Summary.” Holmes spoke third: “Comments.” Then the floor was opened for Q&A.
But details of what was said in the meeting, including extensive notes taken by one participant and further thoughts shared by others, were blacked out by the NIH before the emails were made public.
“It was a very productive back-and-forth conversation where some on the call felt it could possibly be an engineered virus,” Fauci said in our interview. Others, he said, felt the evidence was “heavily weighted” toward the virus emerging from an animal host.
Fauci said his role in helping to organize the meeting shows he has always been open to the possibility of a lab leak or an engineered virus. “I always had an open mind,” he said, “even though I felt then, and still do, the most likely origin was in an animal host.”