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It's Time for Dr. Fauci to Retire | Opinion

Newsweek logo Newsweek 8/2/2021 Newt Gingrich
Anthony S. Fauci standing in front of a flower: WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 22: Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the President, arrives at the White House on July 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. The United States continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases as the Delta variant accounts for a larger share of new cases. © Win McNamee WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 22: Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the President, arrives at the White House on July 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. The United States continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases as the Delta variant accounts for a larger share of new cases.

Eighty-year-old Dr. Anthony Fauci has had an extraordinary career. As head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, he has both conducted and supervised a remarkable range of research. His research has saved lives and as a leading health administrator he directed the allocation of billions of taxpayer dollars on groundbreaking studies. The most recent NIAID budget was $6.1 billion, and Fauci has been administering that budget since 1984 (37 years).

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The fact is, Dr. Fauci is one of the most effective, and indeed brilliant, medical researchers of the last century. However, he is now so absorbed in defending the indefensible that he can best serve the country by stepping down.

Dr. Fauci forecast his current problems in an Oct. 9, 2012, article for the American Society for Microbiology. Written in true scientific fashion, Fauci's "Research on Highly Pathogenic H5N1 Influenza Virus: The Way Forward" is unlikely to be read by the average citizen.

This article from nearly nine years ago predicted the kind of risk accompanying scientific research on a dangerous, highly contagious virus that could potentially spread rapidly as a pandemic with devastating consequences.

The scientific community had already recognized that researching potential pandemic-creating viruses was a dangerous process. In fact, Dr. Fauci wrote his short study during a moratorium on this "gain of function" research imposed by researchers themselves.

Fauci's comments add up to a tragic forecast of what was not done, and a condemnation of the path possibly taken at the Wuhan Institute of Virology—even though Fauci and his team were allegedly monitoring and funding the Chinese lab.

In his 2012 paper, Fauci warned:

In an unlikely but conceivable turn of events, what if that scientist [conducting gain-of-function research] becomes infected with the virus, which leads to an outbreak and ultimately triggers a pandemic? Many ask reasonable questions: given the possibility of such a scenario—however remote—should the initial experiments have been performed and/or published in the first place, and what were the processes involved in this decision?

Back then, Dr. Fauci recognized that when dealing with the potential for a pandemic that might kill millions worldwide, incur enormous economic dislocations and impose extraordinary restrictions on citizens, the "potential benefits and risks of these experiments must be discussed and understood by multiple stakeholders, including the general public, and all decisions regarding such research must be made in a transparent manner."


Video: What to know about Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's leading medical expert (USA TODAY)

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Fauci knew that decisions affecting billions of people cannot be made by scientists on their own. As he warned his fellow scientists in 2012:

We cannot expect those who have these concerns to simply take us, the scientific community, at our word that the benefits of this work outweigh the risks, nor can we ignore their calls for greater transparency, their concerns about conflicts of interest, and their efforts to engage in a dialog about whether these experiments should have been performed in the first place. Those of us in the scientific community who believe in the merits of this work have the responsibility to address these concerns thoughtfully and respectfully.

Nine years ago, Dr. Fauci knew that gain-of-function research required a new standard of transparency and candor. As he wrote:

The influenza virus research community can no longer be the only player in the discussion of whether certain experiments should be done. Public opinion (domestic and global) and the judgments of independent biosafety and biosecurity experts are also critical. If we want to continue this important work, we collectively need to do a better job of articulating the scientific rationale for such experiments well before they are performed and provide discussion about the potential risk to public health, however remote. We must also not rule out the possibility that in the course of these discussions, a broad consensus might be reached that certain experiments actually should not be conducted or reported.

The principles Dr. Fauci had outlined were right. The practice which followed failed to meet those principles.

It is impossible to have the transparency Dr. Fauci described with the Chinese Communist Party's dictatorship. As recently as this week, Beijing announced it would block any effort to investigate potential gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. This is almost two years after COVID-19 likely emerged and began infecting people in China.

The more than $826,000 the National Institutes of Health funneled to the Wuhan laboratory through the EcoHealth Alliance was apparently not accompanied by any serious controls. When the crisis broke out, none of the research the American taxpayer paid for had been copied and placed in American hands.

Just for trusting the Chinese dictatorship, Dr. Fauci should retire.

The failure to be honest from day one about American government involvement in the Wuhan laboratory provides a second reason for Dr. Fauci to resign. He should have briefed the president and vice president, Congress and then the country on what we had funded in Wuhan. Even today, we really don't know what happened to the money or what research it funded.

Instead of the transparency Fauci called for in his 2012 article, we got a cover up, obfuscation and argument.

By his own standards, Dr. Fauci has failed.

To read, hear, and watch more of Newt's commentary, visit Gingrich360.com.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.

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