By: Arjun Singh, Daily Caller News Foundation
An email sent by the author of a controversial paper about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic suggests that a close affiliate of Anthony Fauci was a major influence over the content and direction of the report, according to a report released by the House of Representatives Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The paper, known as the “Proximal Origin” paper and written in March of 2020, argued that the coronavirus emerged from an animal source and was not an artificial virus from a laboratory, seeking to disprove claims that it leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. One of the paper’s authors, Dr. Robert Garry, wrote in an email that “Jeremy [Farrar] has been [an] amazing leader-should be author,” according to a report released by the subcommittee’s minority staff.
Farrar is a British virologist who on Feb. 1, 2020, organized an international conference call with virologists regarding the origins of the virus, which had first emerged in late 2019 in parts of China, per the committee’s majority staff report. Farrar, on the call, was preoccupied with the perception of the virus having emerged from a lab, suggesting that poor relations between the U.S. and China should be considered in determining the origins of the virus, rather than purely questions of science, the majority staff report reads.
“It was obvious that people would soon begin hunting for a scapegoat for what was rapidly turning into a global health disaster. Trump was seeking to blame the virus on China and was calling it the ‘China virus’ and ‘kung flu,’” Farrar is quoted as saying by the majority staff report.
“This theme—of scientists attempting to be international relations experts—prevails throughout the conception, drafting, and publication of Proximal Origin and explains the hesitancy to blame China or otherwise say COVID-19 may have been the result of Chinese negligence,” that report concludes.
Farrar, who was involved in the drafting of the Proximal Origin paper, is an associate of Anthony Fauci, then the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and who would lead the U.S. government’s response to the virus, per the majority report. “Jeremy [Farrar] gets all of this setup. He, I’m sure, has been in touch with Tony Fauci at the time, reaches out to Dr. Fauci, asks him to call me,” said Dr. Kristian Andersen, a virologist who testified before the House subcommittee, per the majority report.
Farrar currently serves as chief scientist of the World Health Organization.
In later testimony recounted by the majority report, Andersen notes that Farrar “prompted us to the idea of seriously considering the origin of the virus and to consider producing a paper.” The Proximal Origin paper later became the fifth-most viewed scientific paper in human history, with 5.34 million downloads, and was cited by Fauci in U.S. government briefings in response to the pandemic.
Anderson’s testimony before the subcommittee on Tuesday appears to backtrack his claim, with him telling the committee that “[t]he only suggested edit was from Dr. Farrar who recommended we change a single instance of unlikely with improbable, which we did,” per a written copy of his testimony. The discrepancy is “highly misleading at best, an outright lie at worst,” academic commentator Roger Piekle, Jr. wrote on Twitter.
The lab leak theory was initially discredited by scientific authorities and U.S. government officials though was later endorsed by some U.S. intelligence community agencies, such as the FBI and the Department of Energy.
Andersen, Garry, Farrar and Nature Medicine did not immediately respond to a request for comment.