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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – Former White House COVID adviser and National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director Dr. Anthony Fauci commissioned and approved a paper for the express purpose of undermining suspicions that COVID-19 escaped from a laboratory in China, according to emails obtained by Republicans on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.

A committee memo dated March 5 reports that on February 4, 2020, just three days after first being warned in a conference call of the possibility that COVID may have leaked from China’s embattled Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), Fauci and former National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Dr. Francis Collins were given a draft of a paper entitled “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” (Proximal Origin), which had been authored by four other participants of the February 1 call.

Two months later, Collins “express[ed] dismay” that Proximal Origin did not do enough to discredit the theory, but Fauci still publicly cited it as debunking it.

“New evidence released by the Select Subcommittee today suggests that Dr. Fauci ‘prompted’ the drafting of” the paper to “disprove” the lab-leak theory, and that the “authors of this paper skewed available evidence to achieve that goal,” the memo alleges.

“Our main work over the last couple of weeks has been focused on trying to disprove any type of lab theory,” Dr. Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research had said of her role in writing the paper in a February 8, 2020 email. Two days later, she described her work on the paper as “[p]rompted by” Fauci, Collins, and Jeremy Farrar of the United Kingdom’s Wellcome Trust.

“It remains unclear what science changed, or new evidence was discovered to change the minds of the authors of Proximal Origin between the February 1 conference call and the February 4 draft,” the memo continues.

In July 2021, Andersen publicly claimed that “data from coronaviruses found in other species, such as bats and pangolins,” persuaded her that COVID’s features were not unique after all, but the new emails reveal that privately Andersen concluded that “these additional pangolin CoV sequences do not further clarify the different scenarios discussed in our manuscript,” and that the “newly available pangolin sequences do not elucidate the origin of SARS-CoV-2 or refute a lab origin.”

The memo also offers evidence that Farrar, who has since become Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), “was more involved in the drafting and publication of Proximal Original than previously known,” despite not being credited as such.

“Sorry to micro-manage/microedit! But would you be willing to change one sentence?” Farrar asked in a February 17, 2020 email asking, “It is unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of an existing SARS-related coronavirus” be changed to “It is improbable … ” Andersen complied.

Fauci has been a focal point for controversy on the question, given his role in supporting the research that may have eventually led to COVID, by approved funding for medical non-government organization EcoHealth Alliance to explore gain-of-function (GOF) research, which entails intentionally strengthening viruses to better study their potential effects on coronaviruses at several sites, including WIV.

Publicly, the lab leak theory was widely mocked and dismissed ever since Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas floated it in February 2020, and for months any suggestion of it was condemned as misinformation. It was not until mid-2021 that mainstream media outlets began to acknowledge it as a possibility.

Fauci and his defenders insisted that the work NIAID approved was not gain-of-function research and could not have led to COVID, but in January 2022 the conservative investigators of Project Veritas released documents they obtained showing that, before going to NIAID, EcoHealth previously pitched its funding request to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which rejected it on the grounds that the project would violate a preexisting moratorium on GOF research and failed to account for its potential risks.

Since then, leaked emails have revealed that Fauci, Collins, and other top researchers were aware of the lab-leak possibility as early as February 2020 but feared publicly acknowledging it would impair “science and international harmony.” More recently, The Wall Street Journal reported a “classified intelligence report” that was “recently provided to the White House and key members of Congress” reveals that DOE has, with “low confidence,” concluded the virus most likely spread after escaping from a Chinese lab, based on unspecified new intelligence, review of academic literature, and expert opinion.

Andrew Huff, a former Army infantryman in Iraq, research fellow in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and vice president-turned-whistleblower for EcoHealth, has also attested that COVID-19’s origins trace back to U.S. federal funding overseen by Fauci and the federal government.