Recently, Fauci has defended Chinese officials who have faced accusations of denying access to scientists investigating the origins of COVID.
He believes that it is not the fault of the Chinese Communist Party but rather the critics of China who are responsible for the lack of transparency that has plagued everyone trying to figure out where the disease originated.
Fauci is confident that increased transparency would reveal that the virus arose from natural transmission rather than from a lab leak in Wuhan.
“The problem is that they’ve attacked the Chinese so badly,” Fauci said. “The Chinese authorities act suspicious, even when they have nothing to hide.”
Fauci, who served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and as President Biden’s chief medical adviser, retired at the end of 2022. However, he has not slowed down, as he is still in high demand for speeches and opinion pieces.
“Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it retirement.” he told Globe Magazine. “I’ve been invited to give numerous speeches and write various opinion pieces. I haven’t taken a single day off since leaving my position. It’s just part of my nature.”
The exact origin of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is still not fully understood. However, it is widely believed that the virus originated in bats and then spread to humans, possibly through an intermediate animal host.
“The only way we’ll know is if China opens up and we get American scientists, Canadian scientists, Australian scientists to go there and do the kind of surveillance in the wild,” Fauci commented to Neil Swidey of the Globe.
The specific location and circumstances of the initial transmission are still being investigated, and there are competing hypotheses about whether the virus naturally evolved and crossed over to humans or if it accidentally leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
“The lab leak issue was always a possible explanation,” Fauci mentioned. “Go back and look at my unredacted e-mails. I was the one that said, ‘Let’s look into this. It’s really important.’ And yet there’s this meme out there that I tried to suppress the lab-leak theory, which is ludicrous. Go look at the [expletive] e-mails. Unbelievable! Holy smokes!”
The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted an investigation into the origins of the virus and released a report in March 2021, which stated that the most likely scenario was that the virus was transmitted to humans through an animal host.
Earlier in February this year, WHO spokesperson Tarik Jašarević said, “We have repeatedly and publicly said that the origin needs investigating and China must provide access and info for this to happen — and if this doesn’t happen, efforts to understand the origins will remain rather stymied.”
“If you look at the viruses that the Wuhan investigators were working with, anybody who even knows a little bit about virology will tell you that it would be molecularly impossible to turn [those viruses] into this virus,” Fauci explained. “Even if you deliberately try to do it, you couldn’t do it. That’s a fact.”
However, the investigation was criticized by some who felt that it did not fully consider the possibility of a lab leak. Ongoing research and investigations may provide more clarity about the origins of COVID-19 in the future.