Fauci once argued for risky viral experiments — even if they can lead to pandemic

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Dr. Anthony Fauci once argued that conducting experiments on contagious viruses to increase their potency was worth the risk — even if the work could accidentally lead to a pandemic, it was revealed Friday.

The newly unearthed comments were made in the American Society for Microbiology in October 2012, where the nation’s chief medical adviser expressed his support for gain-of-function experiments, which focuses on manipulating viruses and making them stronger, The Australian reported.

Gain-of-function experiments are the sort of work that was being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology when the COVID-19 pandemic first started in China in late 2019 and some experts fear a lab accident is what led to the global outbreak.

In the 2012 paper, Fauci acknowledged the risky research could lead to serious lab accidents but he called it “important work” and wrote that it was worth the risk, the outlet said. 

“In an unlikely but conceivable turn of events, what if that scientist becomes infected with the virus, which leads to an outbreak and ultimately triggers a pandemic?” he wrote at the time, according to the outlet.

“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?

“Scientists working in this field might say – as indeed I have said – that the benefits of such experiments and the resulting knowledge outweigh the risks.”

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