Top White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) had a heated exchange at a Senate hearing on Tuesday after Paul claimed that Fauci was lying to Congress.

“Dr. Fauci, as you’re aware, it is a crime to lie to Congress,” Paul told Fauci. “On May 11, you stated that the NIH has not ever, and does not now fund gain of function research and the Wuhan Institute of Virology. And yet, gain of function research was done entirely in the Wuhan Institute … and was funded by NIH.”

Fauci, however, denied Paul’s accusation that he lied before Congress and claimed that the senator was misinformed.

“Sen. Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially. You do not know what you are talking about.”

The senator argued that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded a Wuhan Institute of Virology, which conspiracy theorists believe developed and then leaked the COVID-19 virus to the world.

Paul was referring to a May 11 Congressional hearing with Fauci. On that day, Fauci said the NIH did not fund such medical research at the lab in Wuhan.

On May 19, however, the NIH released a statement saying that it had supported previous grants to research the correlation between the viruses in bats and mammals based on other previous viruses that erupted, such as SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012. The institution, however, denied that it had approved funding that would create the more transmissible and lethal COVID-19.

“Neither NIH nor NIAID have ever approved any grant that would have supported “gain-of-function” research on coronaviruses that would have increased their transmissibility or lethality for humans,” Fauci and the NIH said in a statement released on May. “NIH strongly supports the need for further investigation by the World Health Organization (WHO) into the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.”

 

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