| 5 March 2024, Tuesday |

COVID-19: Fauci fought Trump order to cancel research grant linked to Wuhan lab

According to a new book, Dr Anthony Fauci opposed the Trump administration demands to withdraw a research grant to a foundation associated to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, only to “reluctantly agree” after it was indicated that his career would be risked.

“Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History,” a forthcoming book by Washington Post authors Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, details Fauci’s discussion with other top officials over how to handle the request.

Dr Fauci secretly reinstated US funding of gain-of-function research in China during the Trump years, after the Obama administration had stopped it.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director and his colleagues grappled with how to respond to the request in April 2020 to withhold the remaining $369,819 balance for nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance’s project studying coronaviruses.

“On the afternoon of April 24, [National Institutes of Health] director Francis Collins and Fauci received notice that Trump wanted to formally announce in a 5:00 pm press conference that the grant had been terminated,” the authors, Washington Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta wrote.

Following reports linked the research to the Wuhan facility at the centre of the “lab leak theory,” which claims the pandemic began with a lab accident, the White House pressured the National Institutes of Health to stop funding for a study researching how coronaviruses transfer from infected bats to humans.