FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 25, 2021
Contact: Press@paul.senate.gov, 202-224-4343
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate passed U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s amendment that would permanently ban all funding of gain-of-function research in China. This is following much back-and-forth with Dr. Fauci, and continually defending against the use of American taxpayer dollars in funding gain-of-function research, which aims to enhance the infectiousness or severity of a virus. The amendment is co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Dr. Roger Marshall (R-KS), U.S. Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), and U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC).
“We don’t know whether the pandemic started in a lab in Wuhan or evolved naturally,” said Dr. Paul. “While many still deny funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan, experts believe otherwise. The passage of my amendment ensures that this never happens in the future. No taxpayer money should have ever been used to fund gain-of-function research in Wuhan, and now we permanently have put it to a stop.”
Senate Amendment 2003 bans the National Institutes of Health and any other U.S. agency from funding any gain-of-function research in China.
The amendment defines gain-of-function research as “any research project that may be reasonably anticipated to confer attributes to influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses such that the virus would have enhanced pathogenicity or transmissibility in mammals.” This is the same definition the NIH used when implementing a funding moratorium on gain-of-function research in 2014-2017.
The origin of the COVID-19 virus is unknown. It has yet to be determined if the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or due to a laboratory accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. But this pandemic, and the questions of its origin, has exposed the inherent risk of gain-of-function research and never again will taxpayer dollars fund this type of research in China.
You can read S. 2003 in its entirety HERE.
During a Senate HELP hearing on May 11, Dr. Paul specifically asked Dr. Fauci about the funding of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and the potential link between the COVID-19 outbreak and the lab itself. Gain-of-function research essentially involves juicing up naturally-occurring animal viruses to infect humans.
For years, Dr. Ralph Baric, a virologist in the U.S. has been collaborating with Dr. Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Virology Institute, sharing his discoveries about how to create super viruses. During their research, Dr. Baric and Dr. Shi worked together to insert bat virus spike protein into the backbone of the deadly SARS virus and then used the man-made super virus to infect human airway cells.
Much of the research they were doing was funded through Dr. Fauci’s NIH and NIAID.
When Dr. Paul asked Dr. Fauci whether he supports the NIH funding of the lab in Wuhan, Dr. Fauci, a strong supporter and ardent advocate of gain-of-function research, claimed that the NIH “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
Despite Dr. Fauci’s previous denials, there is ample evidence and backing by the scientific community that the NIH and the NIAID, under his direction, funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. A multitude of scientists have reviewed this research and said it meets the definition for gain-of-function. Many of these scientists have also discussed the inherent dangers of conducting gain-of-function research and the risks it poses to the human population.