Flashback: Asked About Risks of Gain-of-Function Research, Fauci Dismissed Concerns



Image Credit: Twitter screenshot

Flashback: Asked About Risks of Gain-of-Function Research, Fauci Dismissed Concerns

by Adan Salazar


Fauci replied risks were necessary to further develop government’s vaccine-response capability….

Comes as NIAID head continues to lie about department’s role in funding gain-of-function experiments in China….

Footage from a 2012 forum on gain-of-function studies shows NIAID Director Anthony Fauci was asked point-blank about the risks of this type of technology leaking from a research lab.

In the video posted to social media, a scientist questions whether the NIH should take into consideration the risks of gain-of-function organisms escaping a research lab.

“So the …process really has to do with dual use, but maybe that’s the wrong approach, it should really have to do with the risk issue, which is more immediate, having to do with the risks of the organism either escaping or being transported out of the lab,” the concerned scientist asked.

Fauci essentially dismisses the concerns, admitting that the research and the risks are necessary to further develop the government’s vaccine-response capability.



“We need to better our capability of responding with vaccines that’s an issue that’s a lot of a technical issue a capacity issue… we have addressed that in our pandemic preparedness plan,” answered Fauci with an irritated cold-sore on his lip.

“I just want to make sure to understand that understanding adaptability and transmissability, which is what the NIH and all of our advisers have recommended strongly that we do, understanding how a virus adapts to a host, how it transmits and re-adapts to another host is a very, very important problem in understanding influenza.”

“So, I think that what we need to make sure is that we don’t mix apples and oranges, is that we have a problem in that we need to be able to respond better with vaccines. The federal government has invested billions of dollars in trying to convert a very antiquated vaccine development program into a 21st century program by partnering with the industry.”



In a 2012 research paper uncovered by the Weekend Australian earlier this year, Fauci also claimed the benefits of conducting gain-of-function research outweighed the risks.

In an unlikely but conceivable turn of events, what if that scientist becomes infected with the virus, which leads to an outbreak and ultimately triggers a pandemic? Many ask reasonable questions: given the possibility of such a scenario – however remote – should the initial experiments have been performed and/or published in the first place, and what were the processes involved in this decision?

Scientists working in this field might say – as indeed I have said – that the benefits of such experiments and the resulting knowledge outweigh the risksIt is more likely that a pandemic would occur in nature, and the need to stay ahead of such a threat is a primary reason for performing an experiment that might appear to be risky.

 

Within the research community, many have expressed concern that important research progress could come to a halt just because of the fear that someone, somewhere, might attempt to replicate these experiments sloppily. This is a valid concern.

The video resurfaces as Fauci has continued to lie about his department’s role in funding gain-of-function experiments in China, which may have led to the current coronavirus outbreak and which Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has said should result in Fauci’s firing.


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