‘That’s why I have armed agents with me’: Anthony Fauci claims his safety is at risk after Elon Musk called for him to be prosecuted over claims US doc funded research that started Covid pandemic
- Musk tweeted ‘My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci’ which was met by 1.1m likes
- Fauci has long been under intense criticism over his handling of the pandemic
- The 81-year-old stepped down last month after a mega 54-year stint at the NIH
Anthony Fauci claimed today that his safety is at increasing risk after Elon Musk called for him to be prosecuted and accused him of indirectly starting the Covid pandemic.
In an interview with the scientific journal Nature, America’s top infectious disease doctor, 81, said comments like Musk’s ‘stirs a lot of hate in people’ and were the reason he has ‘armed federal agents with me all the time’.
Musk — who was accused of defamation last year after calling a Thai cave hero diver a ‘pedo’ — initially targeted Dr Fauci in a tweet in the early hours of Sunday that said, ‘My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci.’
He appeared to be mocking the left-wing embracement of gender identity while alluding to Fauci’s involvement in controversial Chinese research at the center of questions about Covid’s origin.
Elon Musk mocked the left-wing embracement of gender identity to his 12.1 million Twitter followers yesterday. He then tweeted again implying that many others agreed with his suggestion to investigate Fauci
Elon later shared a meme depicting a scene from the Lord of the Rings edited to show Fauci telling Biden ‘just one more lockdown, my king’. The tweet received over half a million likes
Musk then accused Fauci of ‘lying to Congress’ and funding ‘gain-of-function research that killed millions of people’
He later shared a meme depicting a scene from the Lord of the Rings edited to show Fauci telling Biden ‘just one more lockdown, my king’ before accusing Fauci of ‘lying to Congress’ and funding ‘gain-of-function research that killed millions of people’.
Fauci’s fall from grace: From orchestrating Covid lockdowns to playing down the lab leak theory
Dr Fauci was not a name known to most Americans until 2020 when he became the face of the US’ Covid pandemic response. The 81-year-old was initially a revered figure, but his credibility has come under intense scrutiny.
Asked about the tweets in an interview with Nature this morning, Dr Fauci said: ‘I don’t pay attention to that… and I don’t even feel I need to respond.
‘…A lot of that stuff is just a cesspool of misinformation, and I don’t waste a minute worrying about it.’
Asked whether his safety was at risk, Dr Fauci added: ‘Of course it’s at risk, that’s why I have armed federal agents with me all the time.
‘[Musk’s tweet] stirs a lot of hate in people who have no idea why they’re hating; they’re hating because somebody [famous] is tweeting about it.’
While initially a revered figure, Dr Fauci has come under intense criticism over his handling of the pandemic and his initial denial of the ‘lab leak theory’.
Dr Fauci publicly quashed discussion about Covid’s origin and virus-tinkering experiments at the Wuhan lab in the epicenter of the pandemic – even though privately he expressed concern the virus was unleashed in an experiment-gone-wrong.
It emerged in May 2021 that, under his watch, the Government’s infectious disease research body designated money to that lab and sponsored bat coronavirus research years before the pandemic happened.
On May 11 2021, Dr Fauci and Rand Paul, senator for Kentucky, sparred over how a US funding grant was spent.
Paul insisted that the money was being used for gain of function research – while Dr Fauci insisted it was not.
‘You are entirely and completely incorrect,’ Dr Fauci told Paul at the heated hearing.
He added: ‘The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute.’
Exactly what constitutes gain-of-function has been debated during the pandemic, but the experiments involve manipulating viruses to make them more severe or transmissible, with the hope of getting ahead of future mutations and outbreaks.
Dr Fauci then appeared before a Congressional budget committee on May 25 of last year and defended allocating $600,000 to a group called EcoHealth Alliance, which then paid the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study the risk that bat coronaviruses could infect humans.
He said: ‘I would have been almost a dereliction of our duty if we didn’t study this, and the only way you can study these things is you’ve got to go where the action is.
‘You don’t want to study bats in Fairfax County, Virginia, to find out what the animal-human interface is that might lead to a jumping of species.
World’s most dangerous labs RANKED – and China scores 0 when it comes to safety in handling ‘risky’ experiments
Countries with the laxest rules governing laboratories that house the world’s most dangerous pathogens were today named and shamed.
Saudi Arabia, Gabon, and Cote d’Ivoire came bottom of the pile in terms of safety standards inside Biosaftey Level 4 labs, secretive sites which often harbor pathogens like smallpox, Ebola and Lassa fever.
Canada, the US, Australia and the UK had some of the best standards overall, according to infectious disease experts who ranked all known facilities across the world.
China, however, ranked middle of the pile overall.
Yet when it came to dual research, a branch of experiments that can include ‘gain of function’ – which carries the risk of making pathogens more deadly, it scored zero out of 100.
‘So we had a modest collaboration with very respectable Chinese scientists who were world experts on coronavirus, and we did that through a sub-grant from a larger grant to EcoHealth.’
He added: ‘The larger grant was about $600,000 over a period of five years. So it was a modest amount. The purpose of it was to study the animal-human interface, to do surveillance and to determine if these bat viruses were even capable of [infecting humans].’
Files obtained by The Intercept as part of an FOIA request to drill down the possible root of Covid and whether the US had any role in it cast further doubt about whether the money allocated to the Wuhan lab constituted as gain of function.
Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University, said: ‘The documents make it clear that assertions by the NIH Director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV are untruthful.’
Dr Ebright, who studied the papers, said the scientists ‘combined a spike gene from one coronavirus with genetic information from another coronavirus and confirmed the resulting viruses could infect human cells’.
Questions still remain about the origins of Covid. Reporters asking questions about the topic at Dr Fauci’s farewell speech were shut down by White House staff.
Dr Fauci made his final appearance in the official briefing room last month, following a mega 54-year stint at the NIH.
Since Musk bought Twitter in October, he has raged a war on what he termed ‘the woke mind virus’, and sacked many former Twitter employees.
He has reinstated Trump on the website along with many others, who were originally banned for their extreme views.
He also exposed how the FBI leaned on the platform to remove key figures from the site.
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