A Zoom call reported by Vanity Fair suggest Fauci might have secretly deleted a COVID-19 paper that contained data hidden by China.
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Kristian Andersen, an Anthony Fauci confidant who has received millions in research grants from the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is said to have offered to secretly delete a research paper exposing the erasure of a database containing information relevant to the origins of COVID-19 by the US National Institutes of Health.
During a Zoom call with Fauci, former National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, and the paper’s author Jesse D. Bloom, Andersen, a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute, made the suggestion.
Bloom, an evolutionary biologist, had retrieved a number of early SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences that had been destroyed by the National Institutes of Health at the behest of Chinese Communist Party experts at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The Zoom conversation, whose contents were reported by Vanity Fair, was scheduled two days after Bloom handed Fauci and Collins a preprint of the study.
Collins is said to have invited two outside scientists to participate — Andersen and virologist Robert Garry. Fauci’s organisation has given both men funds worth millions of dollars. Bloom invited evolutionary researcher Sergei Pond and genetic biologist Rasmus Nielsen on the call as his guests.
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“That it was shaping up like an old-fashioned duel with seconds in attendance did not cross Bloom’s mind at the time. But six months after that meeting, he remained so troubled by what transpired that he wrote a detailed account, which Vanity Fair obtained ,” according to the site.
Andersen offered to discreetly destroy the document, according to Bloom’s account of the Zoom call, which he describes as “extremely contentious.”
Andersen’s resistance to the study came months after he privately emailed Fauci that certain of COVID-19’s traits “(potentially) look engineered,” indicating that the Chinese Community Party was attempting to conceal details about the virus’s early days of transmission.
The email was sent on January 31, 2021, almost five months before Bloom’s recovered the erased database, according to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
That’s when Andersen made a suggestion that astonished Bloom, according to Vanity Fair. He claimed to be a screener for the preprint service, which granted him access to papers that were not yet available to the general public. He then volunteered to either completely erase or edit the preprint “in a way that would leave no record that this had been done.” Bloom declined, claiming that “given the contentious nature of the meeting,” neither alternative was appropriate.
Andersen found the preprint “deeply troubling” on the call, according to Bloom’s notes, prompting him and another call participant to start “yelling at each other.”
Vanity Fair explained, “If the Chinese scientists wanted to delete their sequences from the database, which NIH policy entitled them to do, it was unethical for Bloom to analyse them further, he claimed.”
Two call participants describe Andersen’s behaviour on the call in emails released by Bloom to Vanity Fair.
“Despite the guilt trip that Kristian was trying to put you on (not 100% sure why,) I think what you are doing is the correct scientific approach,” Sergei Pond wrote. Another Zoom call participant wrote, “That was a very difficult situation, but I think you handled it extremely well.”
Fauci and Collins apparently distanced themselves from their colleague’s suggestion to discreetly remove the paper from the preprint database, with Fauci reportedly saying, “just for the record, I want to be clear that I never suggested you delete or revise the pre-print,” according to Bloom.
Andersen’s alleged efforts to prevent the publishing of a paper that sheds light on COVID-19’s origins come amid a concerted drive by mainstream media outlets and public health professionals – many of whom have ties to the Chinese Communist Party – to debunk the “lab leak” notion.