Top U.S. health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, scrambled in early 2020 to respond to public reporting of a potential connection between COVID-19 and the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
This response, which included a secret Feb. 1, 2020, teleconference, was loosely detailed in previously released and heavily redacted emails. Those emails strongly suggested that Fauci and a small group of top scientists sought to promote the natural origin theory, despite having evidence and internal expert opinions that pointed to the possibility of a leak from the Wuhan lab.
Unredacted versions of some of the emails made public by lawmakers on Jan. 11 further confirm this.
The newly unredacted emails, released by House Oversight Committee Republicans, confirm and illustrate a pattern of lies and coverup. From the emails, it appears the effort was spearheaded by Fauci himself but also involved his boss, recently retired National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins, as well as Jeremy Farrar, the head of the British Wellcome Trust.
It was previously revealed that at least two scientists, both of whom had received funding from the NIH, had told Fauci during the teleconference that they were 60 to 80 percent sure that COVID had come out of a lab.
The most significant new revelations in the unredacted emails come from two of these scientists, Robert Garry and Mike Farzan, who both noted the difficulties presented by the presence of a furin cleavage site in the COVID-19 virus—a feature that would later be cited as the defining characteristic of the virus.