Fauci made the remarks during an appearance at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle this week to receive the Hutch Award, which is typically reserved for “an active MLB player who ‘best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire'” of former MLB pitcher Fred Hutchinson, who died of lung cancer, according to MLB.
During the discussion, Dr. Larry Corey, former president of Fred Hutch, remarked, “We’re at the epicenter of the initial outbreak, WA1 – Washington 1 is considered the ancestral model strain.”
“No, I developed the ancestral model strain,” Fauci said, prompting wild laughter. “I created it.”
“That’s right, you let it loose,” Corey responded.
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“I was in my kitchen, and I…” Fauci continued before Corey made a joke about gain-of-function research.
Republican National Committee (RNC) Research shared the clip, expressing disgust.
“Top Biden science advisor Anthony Fauci jokes and laughs about the origins of COVID and gain-of-function research,” it remarked:
Indeed, Fauci has warred with top Republican lawmakers over the origins of the virus and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Despite Fauci’s denials, a letter from the NIH clearly shows that the organization awarded a grant to EcoHealth Alliance, which was then sub-awarded to the Wuhan lab. In both 2018 and 2019, the lab tested “if spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model,” Breitbart News detailed.
Fauci remained steadfast, refusing to admit any lie about the NIH funding gain-of-function research. Rather, he clearly backed changing the definition of gain-of-function instead — a move that prompted severe questioning from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
“What you’ve done is change the definition on your website to try to cover your ass, basically. That’s what you’ve done, you’ve changed the website to change the definition that doesn’t include the risky research that’s going on,” Paul said during a November 2021 hearing.
More recently, Rutgers University chemistry professor and Waksman Institute of Microbiology laboratory director Dr. Richard Ebright told U.S. lawmakers that Fauci’s statements on gain-of-function research “have been untruthful.”
“I do not understand why those statements are being made because they are demonstrably false,” he added.