Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared to defend gain-of-function research as “important” despite its pandemic “risk” in a 2012 paper exposed by The Australian. The National Pulse can also reveal similar comments from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director during a 2012 conference focused on the controversial form of research.
Hosted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the December event – “Gain-of-Function Research on HPAI H5N1 Viruses” – counted Fauci as a speaker during the introductory session.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director appears to defend gain-of-function research, which increases the virulence and lethality of infectious diseases, as “integral.” He also describes his agency as “the major funders of most but not all of these people” who carry out the form of research.
Fauci acknowledges the potential drawbacks of gain-of-function research, noting there was “concern” that the “products or information generated by these experiments might be used by others in a way that could harm society either carelessly, in an unregulated fashion, by inexperienced people, or even by deliberate misuse.”
Writing for the American Society for Microbiology in October 2012, Fauci also posited that the risky form of research could “trigger” a pandemic:
“In an unlikely but conceivable turn of events, what if that scientist becomes infected with the virus, which leads to an outbreak and ultimately triggers a pandemic?”
“Scientists working in this field might say – as indeed I have said – that the benefits of such experiments and the resulting knowledge outweigh the risks,” he adds before alleging it is “more likely” that a pandemic would occur naturally in the paper first reported by The Australian’s Sharri Markson.
“We cannot expect those who have these concerns to simply take us, the scientific community, at our word that the benefits of this work outweigh the risks, nor can we ignore their calls for greater transparency, their concerns about conflicts of interest, and their efforts to engage in a dialog about whether these experiments should have been performed in the first place,” Fauci added.
“Those of us in the scientific community who believe in the merits of this work have the responsibility to address these concerns thoughtfully and respectfully,” he reiterates in the paper.