Former head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Francis Collins acknowledged the credibility of the COVID-19 lab leak theory, a concept he previously labeled as a “distraction.”
What Happened: Collins, who was once the boss of Dr. Anthony Fauci, disclosed this during a private, seven-hour session with the House Select Committee on Coronavirus Pandemic, Fox News reported on Monday.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), the subcommittee’s chairman, revealed key insights from the interview with Collins, asserting that Collins acted as Fauci’s “boss.”
Collins confessed that the lab leak theory was indeed credible. This admission is in line with Fauci’s own acknowledgment in an earlier meeting with the subcommittee that the lab leak theory was not a conspiracy.
“Dr. Collins agreed with Dr. Fauci’s concession that the COVID-19 lab leak hypothesis is not a conspiracy,” Wenstrup wrote after Collins’ interview.
Collins also vaguely defined gain-of-function research, possibly to conceal the NIH’s role in funding Wuhan-based research. He contradicted Fauci’s previous statements and raised questions about the U.S. government’s role in suppressing and discrediting the lab leak hypothesis.
Collins further agreed with Fauci’s assessment that the six-feet social distancing rule was likely not based on scientific data.
Why It Matters: The lab leak theory has been a contentious issue since the pandemic’s early days. In February, U.S. intelligence leaned towards the lab leak theory. However, China rebuked the U.S. for rehashing the theory in March, calling it a politicization of the tracing process.
In September, allegations arose that Fauci may have secretly influenced the CIA investigation into the virus’s origins. SSCP chairman Wenstrup alleged that Fauci pushed a particular narrative in an attempt to falsify the lab leak theory.
Fauci was formerly the top U.S. infectious disease official who became the face of America’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
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