Filed Under: Politics

Paul vs. Fauci: What does gain-of-function research have to do with COVID-19?

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Use of gain-of-function research has been heavily debated in the scientific community and most recently, on Capitol Hill. For months, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have disagreed on the definition of gain-of-function research during Senate hearings.

Gain-of-function occurs “when any organism acquires a new ability or property,” Colorado State University biosafety expert Rebecca Moritz said. “It’s very common throughout microbiology and it is a part of doing fundamental microbiology research. So an organism can gain a function through natural selection or a researcher’s experiments.”

Gain-of-function through laboratory experiments has made this type of research so controversial.

“When you are modifying organisms, any organisms…there’s always the possibility that they could become more harmful than the original organism,” Moritz said.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology in China conducted this type of research on coronavirus in bats, fueling theories about the origin of COVID-19.

Dr. Fauci has called those new theories “molecularly impossible,” but Sen. Paul has proposed legislation to ban American funding of gain-of-function research in China.

 

 

 

 

Senator Rand Paul: “You’re saying that that’s not gain of function research.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci: “According to the framework and guidelines.”

Paul: “So what you’re doing is defining away gain of function.”

Gwen Baumgardner: GAIN OF FUNCTION IS FUELING THE FIRE BETWEEN REPUBLICANS AND DR ANTHONY FAUCI……. AND THEORIES THAT COVID STARTED INSIDE A CHINESE LAB.

SO WHAT IS GAIN OF FUNCTION AND ITS CONNECTION TO COVID-19?

LET’S GET THIS STRAIGHT.

GAIN OF FUNCTION IS WHEN AN ORGANISM, LIKE A VIRUS, IS MUTATED TO GIVE IT ADDITIONAL POWERS OR CAPABILITIES.  THE CHANGES CAN HAPPEN NATURALLY WITH EVOLUTION OR INTENTIONALLY IN A LAB.

THE LATTER HAS LED TO SIGNIFICANT SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGHS, says BIOSAFETY EXPERT REBECCA MORITZ.

Moritz: “Some really great examples are, say, taking plants and making them more resistant to salt and drought tolerance, or modifying disease vectors to produce mosquitoes that are resistant to transmitting Dengue fever, as well as modifying E.coli so it can convert plastic waste into valuable commodities.”  

Baumgardner: MODIFICATIONS CAN ALSO BE DANGEROUS AND UNPREDICTABLE.

Moritz: “When you are modifying organisms, any organisms,// there’s always the possibility that they could become more harmful than the original organism.”

Baumgardner: IN SOME GAIN OF FUNCTION RESEARCH,  ….SCIENTISTS DELIBERATELY MAKE VIRUSES DEADLIER OR MORE INFECTIOUS.  

Governor Ron DeSantis: “You can’t have mad scientists running around playing God like this.”

Baumgardner: THOUGH THOSE SO CALLED MAD SCIENTISTS WOULD ARGUE GAIN OF FUNCTION RESEARCH HELPS IDENTIFY POTENTIAL THREATS AND FINDs WAYS TO COUNTERACT THEM.

THE DEPARTMENT FOR HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES CALLS THIS RESEARCH ‘ESSENTIAL TO PROTECTING GLOBAL HEALTH AND SECURITY’.

BUT IT”S NOT A FREE FOR ALL. UNDER THE HHS’ CURRENT POLICY, AMERICAN SCIENTISTS MUST FIRST JUSTIFY A VIRUS’ THREAT BEFORE GAIN OF FUNCTION RESEARCH AND FUNDING ARE APPROVED. 

Moritz: “The organism has to be highly transmissible and capable of wide and uncontrolled spread in humans, as well as highly harmful and likely to cause significant morbidity or mortality in humans.”

Baumgardner: DESPITE THE SUPPORT FROM HHS… GAIN OF FUNCTION RESEARCH WAS BANNED FOR THREE YEARS UNDER THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. 

DURING THAT TIME, GAIN OF FUNCTION EXPERIMENTS CONTINUED AROUND THE WORLD. INCLUDING AT THE WUHAN INSTITUTE OF VIROLOGY, WHERE VIROLOGISTS WERE STUDYING THE CORONAVIRUS IN BATS.

(Inferno movie clip) Tom Hanks: “Someone created a plague”

Baumgardner: IT’S…NOT as simple as Hollywood portrays,  BUT THE INFORMATION about Wuhan  FUELS THE THEORY THAT THE PANDEMIC STARTED IN THAT LAB. 

AND THAT THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH IS PARTLY RESPONSIBLE SINCE IT INDIRECTLY FUNDED SOME OF WUHAN’s RESEARCH.

Fauci: Those viruses are molecularly impossible to result in Sars CoV2! 

Paul: No one’s saying they are! We’re saying they are gain of function viruses because they were animal viruses that became more transmissible in humans, and you funded it! 

Fauci: And you are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of millions of individuals, I totally resent that. 

Paul: But it could have been. It could have been.” 

Baumgardner: WHILE THE US INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CONCLUDES WE MAY NEVER KNOW THE ORIGIN OF THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK, THE DEBATE OVER CONTINUING GAIN OF FUNCTION RESEARCH IS FAR FROM OVER.

BOTH SENATOR RAND PAUL AND IOWA CONGRESSWOMAN JONI ERNST HAVE PROPOSED LEGISLATION TO BAN AMERICAN FUNDS FOR GAIN OF FUNCTION RESEARCH IN CHINA.

NOW THAT WE UNDERSTAND WHAT GAIN OF FUNCTION IS, I WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOUR THOUGHTS ARE ON THIS CONTROVERSIAL RESEARCH.

LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND BE SURE TO RATE THIS STORY USING OUR STRAIGHT ARROW BIAS METER.

Use of gain-of-function research has been heavily debated in the scientific community and most recently, on Capitol Hill. For months, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have disagreed on the definition of gain-of-function research during Senate hearings.

Gain-of-function occurs “when any organism acquires a new ability or property,” Colorado State University biosafety expert Rebecca Moritz said. “It’s very common throughout microbiology and it is a part of doing fundamental microbiology research. So an organism can gain a function through natural selection or a researcher’s experiments.”

Gain-of-function through laboratory experiments has made this type of research so controversial.

“When you are modifying organisms, any organisms…there’s always the possibility that they could become more harmful than the original organism,” Moritz said.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology in China conducted this type of research on coronavirus in bats, fueling theories about the origin of COVID-19.

Dr. Fauci has called those new theories “molecularly impossible,” but Sen. Paul has proposed legislation to ban American funding of gain-of-function research in China.

 

 

 

 

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