Act of transparency? Vast disinformation operation? The two are intertwined, since more than 3,000 emails from Dr.r Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and principal responsible for the American health strategy in the face of Covid-19. These documents can be accessed at this address.
This correspondence offers a rare plunge into the backyard of scientific decisions and fuels the controversy over what the US Department of Health knew or not about the pandemic. But beware, the many reports circulating on social networks are not very faithful to the real content of these documents. We have disentangled the true from the false on what some have already renamed the “Fauci Gate”.
Are these emails coming from a data leak, a “leak”?
Contrary to what some commentators on social networks claim, it is therefore not a question of “Leak” (« leak ») documents, but publication of documents obtained by legal means. These 3,200 emails sent or received between January and June 2020 by Anthony Fauci, responsible for managing the Covid-19 epidemic in the United States, were obtained by BuzzFeed and the daily The Washington Post Under the Transparency and Information Act 1967: The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows any citizen to request the publication of internal federal documents of clear public interest.
This distribution is very supervised. The emails were not delivered in their original state: most of the addresses and phone numbers were withheld, as was the text of some of them.
Do they show scientists’ criticism of President Donald Trump?
Anthony Fauci, aged 80, thirty-five of whom spent at the head of the NIAID, exchanges with a large number of scientists, whom he has met at conferences or who spontaneously contact him to submit their ideas. On the other hand, no e-mail exchanged with Donald Trump, who was then head of state, appears among the published documents.
Mr. Fauci’s correspondence illustrates the amazement of researchers at the populist positions of the American president. On February 27, 2020, the geriatrician Suzanne Bradley notes that he seems to want to do only “Disseminate false information” ; 1is March, a German scientist, Jan-Philipp Hanke, suggests an awareness campaign on YouTube, but dreads the idea that Mike Pence “Don’t try to make campaign ads for Donald Trump”. That same day, psychologist Lawrence O. Brown said to himself “Appalled and frightened” by wanting to censor reports from the NIH, the US National Institute of Health.
Do they reveal exchanges with the boss of Facebook and the Gates foundation?
In an email dated February 27, 2020, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg offered Anthony Fauci the support of his foundation’s resources to speed up the process of vaccine development and validation.
Less surprisingly, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (with which The World Africa has a partnership), a major player in health financing at the international level, comes up on several occasions in the discussions, in particular to finance clinical trials or the screening policy.
Does Fauci recognize the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in these exchanges?
Rumors disseminated in particular on social networks affirm that Anthony Fauci recognizes in one of these e-mails the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine. The world could not find any document going in this direction, but the subject is indeed raised, in particular with the president of the French scientific council, Jean-François Delfraissy.
According to these documents, on March 25, 2020, the latter asked his American counterpart if he was in possession of medical field reports concerning the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine. Mr. Delfraissy considers that the data of Didier Raoult, the professor defending this treatment, is not “Not particularly convincing”, but describes a “Media buzz” and an “Enormous political pressure”.
In response, Anthony Fauci concedes that he too is faced with a “Strong pressure in the United States”, favored by Donald Trump. He writes that he would prefer randomized clinical trials to decide. Asked on February 24 on a Chinese study extolling chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine against diseases caused by SARS-CoV-2, he is doubtful: “I would like to see their data”, he answers cautiously.
Do emails show an about-face on the usefulness of masks?
Like the rest of the scientific community, Dr Fauci has changed his stance on the usefulness of masks during the Covid-19 pandemic. On February 5, 2020, he wrote that the masks that can be bought in stores “Are not really effective in protecting themselves from the virus” and he does not recommend its use, except for the sick. This email is consistent with his public positions at the time.
It is only from July 2020, taking note of the evolution of scientific data on the airborne transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2, that the person in charge of the fight against Covid in the United States will recommend its port. in populated places, then that he pronounces in favor of its generalization in the month of November.
The Dr Does Fauci support the thesis of a fabrication of the virus?
Not in these mails
Just because Anthony Fauci received emails detailing unsubstantiated theories that didn’t mean he took them on his own. Some emails raise fanciful assumptions. This is the case, for example, of the one sent by Michael Jacobs, a dermatologist, who writes that SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that could “To be mixed with another organism, such as yeast or a fungus”. Anthony Fauci did not answer him.
On the other hand, Mr. Fauci requested information on the origin of the virus from specialized researchers. On January 30, 2020, he questioned the American virologist Kristian G. Andersen, director of the American biomedical research center Scripps Research, about an article by Science on the possible origins of SARS-CoV-2. He replies that he and his colleagues believe “That the genome is not consistent with what is expected from the theory of evolution”. It evokes “A very small part of the genome (0.1%)” who “Appears to be potentially human-made”. Anthony Fauci offers to discuss it over the phone. The content of their exchanges is not known.
Five weeks later, Kristian G. Andersen thanked Anthony Fauci for his “Advice” and announces to him that his scientific correspondence has been accepted by the journal Nature Medicine. In it, he claims that he is “Unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 emerged from laboratory manipulation”. Asked about this turnaround, the person evokes on Twitter of “Significant new data, comprehensive analyzes, and a lot of discussion”, according to Release. He has since deleted his account.
In addition, several e-mails concern an Indian study subject to controversy and evoking possible inserts of genetic material of the AIDS virus, HIV, in the genome of SARS-CoV-2 – a theory popularized in France by the Pr Luc Montagnier and overwhelmingly rejected by experts. Questioned on January 31 by AFP, the NIH press service refuses to answer “Without instructions from above” (« high level input »), before noticing that the study has not been peer-reviewed, and has even been withdrawn. The NIH communications director quipped: “Talk about putting the genie back in the bottle …”
On April 17, Francis Collins, director of the NIH, sent Anthony Faucy the link to a conspiratorial site claiming that the epidemic emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan. Anthony Fauci’s reply is hidden in emails shared to BuzzFeed. In another email, spotted by Release, Peter Daszak, a researcher opposed to the thesis of the virus from a laboratory, and criticized for not declaring links with the Wuhan institute in a publication on the origin of the virus, thanks the director of NIAID for publicly supported the thesis of a zoonosis.