Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) begins the first congressional hearing on gain-of-function research Wednesday, attempting to determine whether the National Institutes of Health (NIH) used taxpayer funds for gain-of-function experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“Before we even get to whether the virus came from a lab we have to explore were they doing gain-of-function research?” Paul told Fox News’ Brett Baier Tuesday.

Paul, the ranking member of the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight, explained further the importance of the hearings:

Were they taking viruses, mixing them with the unknown viruses and creating more lethal viruses, or viruses that were more infectious or transmissible? I say without question they were doing this. Anthony Fauci says they weren’t.

In May 2021, Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had a contentious exchange over whether NIH funded gain-of-function experiments at the Wuhan Institute.

“Dr. Fauci dissembled or tried to hide his long time support for ‘gain-of-function’ research which creates super-viruses that jump from animals to humans,” Paul tweeted regarding Fauci’s denial of the creation of the “super-viruses.”

Paul said the current hearing will be “the first exploration of this topic in two years.”

“A million Americans died,” the senator asserted. “We have not had one single hearing.”

Three scientists will testify during the hearing, he noted, “scientists with hundreds of papers, peer review papers, editors of journals”:

I’m going to ask them was it gain-of-function research that was going on in Wuhan. That doesn’t prove it came from a lab, but it proves that dangerous research was happening there, and that it could have come from the lab. And my question is, even if we don’t know for certain, let’s say it’s 50-50. That’s still a big probability that it came from the lab at that point, wouldn’t we want to make sure we’re controlling – ? You know, we have restrictions on exporting nuclear technology. Should we have restrictions on exporting DNA technology to Communist China? I think yes.

In October 2021, Lawrence A. Tabak, now NIH acting director, admitted Fauci lied about funding Wuhan gain-of-function experiments.

At the end of July, Senate Democrats objected to Paul’s amendment to the CHIPS-Plus Act that would have permanently banned all U.S. funding gain-of-function research in China.

“Gain-of-function research enhances the severity or transmissibility of existing viruses that may infect humans,” Paul said in his remarks on the Senate floor regarding his amendment. “The dangers are so acute that from 2014-2017, the National Institutes of Health suspended funding for all gain-of-function projects … the emergence of COVID serves as a reminder that dangerous research conducted in a secretive and totalitarian country is simply too risky to fund.”

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Rand Paul” by Rand Paul.