Newly released emails by House Republicans on Sunday suggest Dr. Anthony Fauci “prompted” or commissioned the drafting of the “Proximal Origin” paper meant to “disprove” the COVID-19 lab leak theory.
In a published memo, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Majority Staff told other members Fauci prompted the paper’s co-author Dr. Kristian Andersen, professor of Scripps Research, to write “Proximal Origin” to disprove any lab leak theory.
They also assert the authors of the paper then “skewed available evidence to achieve that goal,” and Dr. Jeremy Farrar—a British medical researcher who has served as director of the Wellcome Trust since 2013 and is the incoming chief scientist at the World Health Organization—went unaccredited despite significant involvement.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Francis Collins, and at least eleven other scientists on Feb. 1, 2020, convened a conference call to discuss COVID-19.
“It was on this call that Drs. Fauci and Collins were first warned that COVID-19 may have leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China, and may have been intentionally genetically manipulated,” the memo states.
Three days later, four conference call participants authored a paper entitled “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” (Proximal Origin) and sent a draft to Drs. Fauci and Collins for editing and approval prior to final publication in Nature Medicine.
On April 16, 2020, more than two months after the original conference call, Collins emailed Fauci expressing disappointment that the Proximal Origin paper did not crush the lab leak hypothesis and asked if the National Institutes of Health could do more to “put down” the lab leak hypothesis.
“The next day—after Collins asked for more public pressure—Fauci, during a White House press conference, cited the paper as evidence the lab leak theory was implausible while pretending it had nothing to do with him and he did not know the authors.
Yet, the committee cited several emails GOP leadership say suggests that Fauci was involved in commissioning the Proximal Origin paper, which aimed to disprove any lab leak.
On Aug. 18, 2021, Scripps responded to former Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer and former Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan’s July 29, 2021, letter to Andersen, asserting that Andersen “objectively” investigated the origins and that Fauci did not attempt to influence his work. Yet, “both statements do not appear to be supported by the available evidence,” the memo states.
On Feb. 8, 2020, Anderson said in an email:
“Our main work over the last couple of weeks has been focused on trying to disprove any type of lab theory.”
“This e-mail directly contradicts Scripps’ earlier statement that Dr. Andersen “objectively” weighed all the evidence regarding the origins of COVID-19,” the memo states. “Instead, it appears that Dr. Andersen was given direction and sought to formulate a paper, regardless of available evidence, that would disprove a lab leak.”
An August 18 letter by Scripps sent on behalf of Dr. Andersen stated:
“As for the conference call of February 1, Dr. Fauci did not, in Dr. Andersen’s view, attempt to influence Dr. Andersen or any other member of the ad hoc working group of international subject matter experts with respect to any aspect of the discussion.”
Yet, on Feb. 12, 2020, Dr. Andersen wrote to Nature requesting the publication of Proximal Origin.
In this e-mail, Dr. Andersen wrote:
“There has been a lot of speculation, fear mongering, and conspiracies put forward in this space and we thought that bringing some clarity to this discussion might be of interest to Nature [sic]. Prompted by Jeremy Farrah [sic], Tony Fauci, and Francis Collins, Eddie Holmes, Andrew Rambaut, Bob Garry, Ian Lipkin, and myself have been working through much of the (primarily) genetic data to provide agnostic and scientifically informed hypothesis around the origins of the virus.”
This e-mail directly contradicts Scripps’ earlier statement that Dr. Fauci did not influence Dr. Andersen.
In a July 14, 2021, interview with The New York Times, Andersen was asked how his view changed from “possible lab leak to definitely zoonotic.” Anderson claimed that he and other researchers “looked at data from coronaviruses found in other species, such as bats and pangolins, which demonstrated that the features that first appeared unique to SARS-CoV-2 were in fact found in other, related viruses.”
According to newly obtained evidence, while Proximal Origin was going through peer review with Nature Medicine more than a year earlier, Andersen actually did not find the pangolin data compelling despite publically stating otherwise.
“Privately, Dr. Andersen did not believe the pangolin data disproved a lab leak theory despite saying so publicly. It is still unclear what intervening event changed the minds of the authors of Proximal Origin in such a short period of time. Based on this new evidence, the pangolin data was not the compelling factor; to this day, the only known intervening event was the February 1 conference call with Dr. Fauci.”
As for Dr. Farrar—Farrar is a critical player in the WHO’s new Pandemic Treaty. Although Farrar is not credited with any involvement in the drafting and publication of Proximal Origin, emails show he led the drafting process and made “direct edits to the substance of the publication.” Farrar also pressured Nature to publish the paper.