US House Committee Report finds top US health official and ‘Bethesda Boys’ colluded to suppress Covid lab-leak theory

US House Committee Report finds top US health official and ‘Bethesda Boys’ colluded to suppress Covid lab-leak theory


A report released on Tuesday last week by the US House of Representatives Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic presents evidence of a coordinated effort by federal officials, including Dr Anthony Fauci, to suppress the Covid-19 lab-leak hypothesis and instead promote the “natural origin” theory.

The 55-page interim report is based on the committee’s “comprehensive investigation into the suppression of the lab-leak hypothesis by America’s leading public health officials through the drafting, publication, and critical reception of the infamous ‘The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2’ (‘Proximal Origin’) publication” in Nature Medicine.

According to the report, “extensive influence” by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the so-called “Bethesda Boys,” including Fauci and then-NIH Director Francis Collins, combined with a “flawed analysis” characterised by “an alarming lack of evidence,” led to the publication of the highly influential “Proximal Origin” paper.

The report includes previously unrevealed Slack messages and emails between the co-authors, unabridged transcripts of interviews with “every US-based contributor to the paper” and a detailed analysis of the “coordinated effort” to suppress the lab-leak theory.

The conclusions were based on a review of 8,000 pages of documents, 25 hours of testimony and five interviews by the committee.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr, Children’s Health Defense founder and chairman on leave, explores similar allegations in his soon-to-be-released book, “The Wuhan Cover-up: How US Health Officials Conspired with the Chinese Military to Hide the Origins of Covid-19.”

The release of the report follows Tuesday’s testimony before the committee by some of the co-authors of the “Proximal Origin” paper, including Kristian Andersen, a professor of immunology and microbiology at the California-based Scripps Research Institute, and Robert F. Garry, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Tulane School of Medicine.

According to the report, the “Proximal Origin” paper was used to “downplay the lab-leak hypothesis” and label as “conspiracy theorists” anyone who suggested the virus may have leaked from a lab. The report indicated Fauci and Collins were personally involved in the conceptualisation, drafting and publication of the paper.

Indeed, the report said, Collins “expressed dismay” when the paper, despite quickly becoming one of the most heavily cited scientific papers of all time, “did not successfully kill the lab leak theory” – prompting Fauci to double down and directly cite the paper during a White House Covid-19 briefing.

The report states that the “Proximal Origin” paper was “one of the single most impactful and influential scientific papers in history,” that has been used to “unequivocally rule out the possibility Covid-19 was the result of a lab leak,” and was cited by other influential journals such as The Lancet, to further reinforce the “natural origin” theory of Covid-19.

Yet, according to the report, the “Proximal Origin” paper’s “expressed conclusions were not based on sound science nor in fact, but instead on assumptions.”

In a statement, committee chairman Rep Brad Wenstrup (Republican-Ohio) said: “America’s leading health officials vilified and suppressed the lab leak theory in pursuit of a preferred, coordinated narrative that was not based in truth or science. The Select Subcommittee’s report proves that the conclusions championed by the co-authors of Proximal Origin are not only inaccurate, but were crafted to appease a stated political motive. …

“Stifling scientific discourse and labelling those who believe in the possibility of a lab-leak as ‘conspiracy theorists’ caused irrefutable harm to public trust in our health officials. Americans deserve to know why honesty, transparency, and facts were abandoned. Our report is devoted to achieving that goal.”

In remarks shared with The Defender, Francis Boyle, a bioweapons expert and professor of international law at the University of Illinois who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, said that he warned governments and public health authorities in January 2020 that Covid-19 was an engineered bioweapon.

“My intention for doing this was to alert all governments in the world and public health authorities that what humanity was dealing with here was an existentially dangerous biological warfare weapon that must be treated as such, and not some animal virus that had somehow miraculously jumped out of the Wuhan wet-market.

“This wet-market propaganda materially downplayed the existential dangers of the Wuhan Coronavirus biowarfare weapon and substantially interfered with the proper containment, remediation and treatment of what was later called Covid-19.”

Boyle further alleged that the federal government acknowledged, in communications with him, that Covid-19 was a dangerous bioweapon, but didn’t take action. He said: “Soon after publishing my alert, I was informed by one of the Pentagon’s top experts on chemical and biological warfare weapons that the Fort Detrick bioweapons facility had manuals on the containment and remediation of biological warfare weapons that should be applied to Covid-19.

“Those Fort Detrick manuals dealing with biological weapons should have been applied immediately. They were not. As a result, about 1.5 million Americans have died as a direct result of Covid-19.”

Fauci himself was behind the “Proximal Origin” paper, according to the report, because he wanted to disprove the lab-leak theory, “to avoid blaming China for the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The report cites two possible motives underlying the drafting of the “Proximal Origin” paper. The first was “to downplay the lab leak theory [as] an interest by those involved to defend China and play diplomat,” while the second was “to lessen the likelihood of increased biosafety and laboratory regulations.”

According to the report, on January 31, 2020, Fauci “suggested” to Andersen that a paper be drafted regarding a possible lab leak.

A conference call followed the next day, in which 11 scientists participated, including Fauci, Collins and Lawrence Tabak, now acting director of the NIH, after which the “draft of what would become Proximal Origin was completed within hours.”

According to the report, this occurred even although Fauci “was aware of the monetary relationship between the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), EcoHealth Alliance, Inc (EcoHealth), and the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), despite claiming otherwise on numerous occasions.”

Fauci was the head of NIAID until his retirement in December 2022.

The report states that “NIAID worked with EcoHealth to craft a grant policy to sidestep the gain-of-function research moratorium at the time,” allowing them to “conduct and complete dangerous experiments, with very little oversight, at the WIV that would have otherwise been blocked by the moratorium.”

This occurred even though “EcoHealth was not in compliance with the grant that provided funds to the WIV,” presumably to hide a gain-of-function experiment conducted on a potentially infectious and lethal novel coronavirus” at the WIV, which operated “with undertrained technicians and at a substandard biosafety level” – all of which Fauci was aware of, the report states.

A February 2, 2020, Slack message by Andrew Rambaut, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, and one of the co-authors of “Proximal Origin,” was indicative of attempts to “play diplomat.”

Rambaut wrote: “Given the s**t show that would happen if anyone serious accused the Chinese of even accidental release, my feeling is we should say that given there is no evidence of a specifically engineered virus, we cannot possibly distinguish between natural evolution and escape so we are content with ascribing it to natural process.”

Indeed, according to the report, Fauci was not only aware of deficiencies at the Wuhan lab but also of the novel characteristics of the new virus, “some of which could be research derived.”

“All of these facts demonstrate that – if this virus was the result of a laboratory or research related incident – Dr Fauci had a lot to lose,” the report said.

According to the report, Fauci, Collins and the NIH – the parent agency of NIAID – exerted “undue influence” over the drafting and publication of “Proximal Origin,” which drew two conclusions: 1) Covid-19 was “not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus,” and 2) no “laboratory-based scenario is plausible.”

Earlier in January 2020, Jeremy Farrar, then-head of the Wellcome Trust, noted there were “unusual aspects” contained within the sequence of Covid-19, and that there was “chatter” at the time suggesting “the virus looked almost engineered to infect human cells.”

Yet, according to the report, “Dr Farrar’s first concern was not the well-being of the planet,” but instead, whether the novel coronavirus might be related to gain-of-function research, which Farrar believed to be “ultimately useful.”

Farrar is now chief scientist at the World Health Organization.

The report states that at around this time, Andersen expressed his own concerns “regarding the possibility the Covid-19 pandemic was the result of a lab leak and that it had properties that may have been genetically modified or engineered.”

  • The Defender report / By Michael Nevradakis, Athens-based, Greece senior reporter for The Defender 
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