ISSN 2330-717X

What Did China Know About COVID-19? And Why Doesn’t The US Know? – OpEd

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On Tuesday, White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci accused Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) of lying about the role of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in funding dangerous gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). This charge calls for some review.

It is already a matter of record that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which Dr. Fauci has headed since 1984, funded the WIV to conduct gain-of-function research, which makes viruses more lethal and transmissible. Sen. Paul has already flagged Fauci’s denial as a “verifiable falsehood,” but both parties have lost sight of a key reality.

Money is fungible, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology could take the U.S. taxpayer dollars and conduct whatever kind of research the Chinese scientists and their Communist Party bosses wanted. The WIV is not accountable to the United States in any way, and money is hardly the only issue.

In addition to U.S. funding, the WIV received a shipment of deadly pathogens from Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg. The transfer, by Chinese scientist Xiangguo Qiu, included Ebola Makona, Mayinga, Kikwit, Ivory Coast, Bundibugyo, Sudan Boniface, Sudan Gulu, MA-Ebov, GP-Ebov, GP-Sudan, Henra, Nipah Malaysia, and Nipah Bangladesh. These deadly viruses would be most useful in gain-of-function research.

Dr. Qiu also made many trips to China and worked with four institutions involved with the Chinese military, including the WIV. The Chinese scientist would be a valuable witness but she was dismissed from the NML and journalists are unable to locate her. The CCP has not sent WIV scientists to testify at Senate hearings and is highly unlikely to do so. Still, senators and representatives have options.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier is the former director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), and in early 2020 a leading Center for Disease Control (CDC) voice on the pandemic. In a series of telebriefings, Dr. Messonnier referred to a “new virus” and a “novel coronavirus” that was “capable of spreading easily and sustainably from person to person based.” When asked about individuals returning from China, Messonnier said that was “not something that I’m at liberty to talk about today.” She did not reveal which U.S. official laid down the restriction, or why.

Messonnier declined to answer reporters’ questions about what China knew and when they knew it, and stressed CDC collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), which faithfully replicates China’s point of view. In April, the CDC reassigned Messonnier. And in May, she suddenly resigned to become executive director for pandemic prevention and public health systems at the Skoll Foundation.

That does not bar any member of Congress from calling Dr. Messonnier as a witness and putting her under oath. If she is a “true hero,” as current CDC boss Rochelle Walensky proclaims, Messonnier should be willing to tell what she knows about the origin of the “novel coronavirus” that spreads so easily. Messonnier began her CDC career with the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) and that raises another issue.

As Diana Robeletto Scalera of the CDC Foundation explains, the EIS “works day and night domestically and globally to ensure epidemics in other countries do not hit American soil.” EIS disease detectives are “are the ones responsible and they take this role very seriously.”

EIS officers are active in China, where they cultivate new recruits. As it happens, before COVID-19 arrived on American soil, the EIS deployed officers in China.

As Healio notes, second-year EIS officer Emilio Dirlikov learned about the agency while conducting research in Lanzhou, China. There, an EIS officer recommended that he apply for the program, and Dirlikov was duly accepted. By all indications, the intrepid EIS officers failed to prevent the virus that causes COVID from arriving on American soil. That should have members of Congress calling EIS bosses to testify, in public and under oath.

Who were the EIS officers on the ground in China? What was their role, if any, with the Wuhan Institute of Virology? Did EIS officers collaborate with the WHO? Were any EIS leaders disciplined or fired for their failure to prevent the virus from arriving on American soil? Who told Dr. Messonnier she was not at liberty to talk about issues related to China? Did “novel coronavirus” occur in the wild, or was it created in a laboratory?

In May, Fauci said he was “not convinced” COVID-19 developed naturally. Sen. Rand Paul, a medical doctor, is pressing Fauci on U.S. funding for gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Fauci responds by calling Sen. Paul a liar who doesn’t know what he is talking about.

Fauci also said it was “molecularly impossible” for viruses created by gain-of-function research to be the origin of COVID-19, and that raised another issue. Fauci earned a medical degree in 1966 but his bio shows no advanced degrees in molecular biology or biochemistry.

On Tuesday evening, Sen. Paul told reporters he would be requesting the Department of Justice for a “criminal referral” on Dr. Fauci “because he has lied to Congress.” Embattled Americans should pay close attention as this case unfolds. The people have a right to know the truth.

This article was also published in The Epoch Times 

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K. Lloyd Billingsley

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at The Daily Caller.

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