‘No Doubt’ American Tax Dollars Funded Gain-of-Function Research at Wuhan Lab: Ex-CDC Director

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Dr. Robert Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told lawmakers on Wednesday that U.S. tax dollars funded risky gain-of-function research at a Chinese virus lab at the heart of the COVID-19 origin controversy.

Redfield made the remark while responding to questions during a March 8 session of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) asked the former CDC official whether it was likely that “American tax dollars funded the gain-of-function research that created this virus?” referring to the hypothesis that the pathogen behind COVID-19 leaked from a lab in Wuhan.

“I think there’s no doubt that NIH was funding gain-of-function research,” Redfield replied, adding that he believes funding came from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies.

Taxpayer-Funded Gain-of-Function Research?

The view that American tax dollars funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has been disputed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director, former NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, and others.

Gain-of-function research involves altering the properties of a pathogen, such as its virulence, in order to study its potential impact on human health. Such research is controversial because of the potential risks it poses as it makes viruses more lethal.

The question of whether U.S. tax dollars were used to fund gain-of-function research in China has been in the spotlight for some time and remains steeped in controversy as the definition of what exactly constitutes such research is a matter of debate.

“No one knows exactly what counts as gain-of-function, so we disagree as to what needs oversight, much less what that oversight should be,” said Nicholas Evans, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, who specializes in biosecurity and pandemic preparedness, in remarks to ASBMB Today.

By Tom Ozimek

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