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Dr. Anthony FauciWeill Cornell Medicine / YouTube

(LifeSiteNews) – Former White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci had been apprised of reason to suspect that the COVID virus was linked to research he had subsidized at China’s embattled Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) as early as January 2020 despite publicly rejecting the possibility for months, a newly-uncovered email shows.

Publicly, the theory that COVID escaped from a Chinese lab (as opposed to evolving in nature) was widely mocked and dismissed ever since Republican 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, well after Democrats had retaken the White House, that mainstream media outlets began to acknowledge it as a possibility.

One focal point of the issue has been Fauci, formerly director of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID), given his role in supporting the research that may have eventually led to COVID by approving 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.

On Tuesday, public health nonprofit U.S. Right to Know reported that a January 7, 2020 email obtained via the federal Freedom of Information Act to Fauci and other health officials from Fauci chief of staff Greg Folkers stated that “EcoHealth group (Peter Daszak et al), has for years been among the biggest players in coronavirus work, also in collaboration with Ralph Baric, Ian Lipkin and others.” Daszak is president of EcoHealth Alliance.

“NIAID has funded Peter’s group for coronavirus work in China for the past five years,” the email says, facilitating the discovery of 52 novel sarbecoviruses, which USRTK notes is the “species that SARS-CoV-2 belongs to.” It also notes the discovery of “SARS-related CoVs that can bind to human cells,” which “cause SARS-like disease in humanized mouse models.”

Additional emails reveal Fauci was concerned enough about a potential connection to have NIAID Deputy Director Hugh Auchincloss look into it, and a like-minded colleague, former National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins, expressed interest “in the proposal of accidental lab passage in animals (which ones?).”

Publicly, however, Fauci and Collins insisted that the work NIAID approved was not gain-of-function research and could not have led to COVID.

in January 2022, 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.

Other previously 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.”

In March, the Washington Examiner reported that in early 2020, Dr. Kristian Andersen of the Scripps Institute and Dr. Robert Garry of Tulane University notified Fauci that they took seriously suspicions that COVID first escaped from WIV, with Andersen writing that “one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered,” and that COVID’s genome seemed “inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory.”

In March, however, both signed onto a paper entitled “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” (Proximal Origin), which concluded the lab-leak hypothesis was not “plausible.” LifeSiteNews has reported that Fauci himself had input into the final draft, which was not initially disclosed. The Examiner’s review found that, from 2020 to 2022, research projects led by Andersen and Garry received $25.2 million in NIH grants.

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