A February 2020 science paper that debunked the Covid lab leak theory was commissioned by former White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, according to the US House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The Select Subcommittee said that new email evidence shows that Dr. Fauci ordered, helped to edit, and gave final approval to a paper titled "The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2," published in the journal Nature Medicine.
The paper "disproved" that Covid originated from China's infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Instead it showed that coronavirus had "mutations" that were "totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human".
The authors of the scientific paper "skewed available evidence to achieve that goal", the Select Subcommittee said.
Two months later, in April, Fauci quoted the same paper to wave off concerns that the virus might have come from a Chinese facility.
The emails unearthed by the Select subcommittee also reveals the scientific paper's co-author Dr. Kristian Andersen admitting Fauci "prompted" him to write the paper with the goal to "disprove" the lab leak theory.
"There has been a lot of speculation, fear-mongering, and conspiracies put forward in this space. (This paper was) Prompted by Jeremy Farrah (sic), Tony Fauci, and Francis Collins," read the cover of the email, along with the paper, sent by Andersen to Nature Medicine on February 12, 2020.
Further, the emails show that on February 17, the day the "Proximal Origin" paper was published, Farrar, who was the head of British nonprofit, the Wellcome Trust, asked the journal to make a crucial change.
"Sorry to micromanage/micro edit! But would you be willing to change one sentence?" he wrote.
Farrar asked to replace the word "unlikely" with "improbable" in a statement about the lab leak origin.
It should read: "It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of an existing SARS-related coronavirus," emails show.
More than two years after the pandemic, the origins of Covid-19 remain unclear. It has been a political and scientific debate with scientists and politicians globally contending that the coronavirus jumped into people from bats, or have been leaked from a laboratory.
Last month, the US Energy Department concluded with "low confidence" that the Covid-19 virus leaked out of a laboratory in China. Previously, in 2021, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also agreed to the lab leak claim with "moderate confidence".
Meanwhile, China continues to reject the lab leak theory and suggests it emerged outside China. It has also placed limits on investigations by the World Health Organisation.
China also trashed the latest report by the US Energy Department, saying the origin-tracing of the pandemic "is about science and should not be politicised".
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said the international experts have considered the theory that the pandemic might have leaked from a Chinese laboratory as "extremely unlikely".
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