by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Dr. Anthony Fauci in 2021 dismissed concerns that U.S.-funded Chinese scientists lied about performing risky gain-of-function research, calling those scientists “competent” and “trustworthy.” But a publicly disclosed grant shows Fauci’s own agency was simultaneously funding ethics training for Chinese scientists over widespread “research misconduct.”
Fauci’s National Institutes of Health in 2019 launched a $300,000 grant to “strengthen research integrity” at China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention and two other major Chinese research institutions. Troubling instances of “research misconduct,” “inadequate ethical review,” and “publication fraud” at the institutions, the agency wrote in its grant description, “have had a negative impact on Chinese scientists and their U.S. collaborators” and “highlighted China’s underdeveloped research ethics capacity and infrastructure,” prompting the need for ethics and integrity training.
The agency’s concerns contradict Fauci’s own comments to Congress in 2021. In May 2021, roughly a year after the coronavirus came to the United States, Fauci insisted that scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were both “competent” and “trustworthy” and would not have used American money to conduct gain-of-function research, which aims to make viruses intentionally more transmissible. That October, the National Institutes of Health admitted that Chinese scientists at the lab indeed used U.S. funds to create a coronavirus that was more infectious in mice.
“Dr. Fauci, I believe you have testified that you didn’t give any money to the Wuhan lab to conduct gain-of-function research. Is that right?” Louisiana Republican senator John Kennedy asked Fauci during the May 2021 Senate hearing. “That is correct,” Fauci responded.
“How do you know they didn’t lie to you and use the money for gain-of-function research anyway?” Kennedy shot back. “In our experience with grantees, including Chinese grantees, which we have had interactions with for a very long period of time, they are very competent, trustworthy scientists,” Fauci concluded.