Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday defended the US giving hundreds of thousands of dollars for research at a Wuhan lab studying whether bat coronaviruses could be transmitted to humans — saying that it would have been “negligent” not to.
“It was a… proposal that was peer-reviewed and given a very high rating for the importance of why it should be done,” Fauci told CNN anchor Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“[The proposal was] to be able to go and do a survey of what was going on among the bat population because everyone in the world was trying to figure out what the original source of the original SARS CoV-1 was,” he continued.
The National Institutes of Health earmarked $600,000 for a nonprofit linked to Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been at the center of lab-leak theories about the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fauci, who is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, argued that it was necessary to pursue the research.
“It was almost as if you didn’t pursue that research you would be negligent because you were trying to find out how you could prevent this from happening again,” Fauci said.
Fauci added that it was critical that the research occurred in China since that’s where SARS first emerged.
“If we were starting to look for bats in Secaucus, New Jersey, or Fairfax County, Virginia, it wouldn’t contribute very much to the standing of where SARS COV-1 originated,” Fauci said.