Dr. Fauci blasts Sen. Rand Paul in a sassy exchange

The National Science Advisory Board for Biiosecurity has defined “Gain of Function research of concern”, and research that falls into that category is more closely monitored

See Appendix C for examples of reasearchg proposals that fall within the GOFROC criteria.

Recently, the phrase “gain-of-function research” has become synonymous with certain studies that enhance the ability of pathogens to cause disease. However, gain-of-function studies, as well as loss- of-function studies, are common in molecular microbiology and are essential to understanding molecular pathogenesis of infectious diseases. Changes to the genome of an organism, whether naturally occurring or directed through experimental manipulations in the laboratory, can result in altered phenotypes, as biological functions are lost or gained. Investigators routinely conduct loss- and gain-of-function experiments to understand the complex nature of host-pathogen interactions that underlie transmission, infection, and pathogenesis.

The term “gain-of-function” is generally used to refer to changes resulting in the acquisition of new, or an enhancement of existing, biological phenotypes. This report further defines “gain-of- function research of concern” to describe the subset of studies that have been the subject of recent debate and have raised potential biosafety and biosecurity implications. These are gain-of- function studies with the potential to generate pathogens with pandemic potential in humans by exhibiting high transmissibility and high virulence. See Section 6 for a more rigorous description of GOF research of concern (GOFROC).

Rand has a nebulous, more paranoid definition, but that’s not a definition that controls, or can control US policy.


Care to elaborate to a white male what that means?

To add some context, Paul is obviously trying to revive a de-bunked conspiracy theory for his mouth-breathing supporters with this question.

A case of common (but controversial) research into “gain of function” was blown up into supposed “evidence” in a particularly stupid right-wing conspiracy theory wherein Fauci and the NIH directly funded research at the Wuhan lab that supposedly engineered COVID-19 before it allegedly leaked.


Not so sure that paranoid and truthy definitions of complex things ‘cannot’ control US policy. We have conspiracy theorists in the most powerful positions of US government (US House of Representatives) and we have situations such as states canceling all vaccine outreach to young people because of antivaxx hype. We lost funding for planned parenthood in many states after a similar confusion about stem cell research with some lines derived from fetal tissue. This shit does move the needle and so it is relevant when there is a new boogeyman being talked about in the senate no less.


Stop shaking your head in disgust, raise your fist in anger.


Rand is just doing with “gain of function” the same thing that the entire right-wing media structure is doing with “critical race theory”. The terms only have meaning within a particular field of study. When used outside of that field they have no meaning so each person hearing it is free to imbue them with whatever meaning it wants.

I’m reminded of Steven King in an old interview explaining that the way to really scare a reader is to get them to make up all the details themselves.


It’s understandable why Rand’s neighbor beat the shit out of him.


This is the same thing that happened when Dr. Fauci used the term “sterilizing immunity” in relation to covid vaccination programs. In his world, that has a specific meaning little known outside of that area, and thus was ripe for RWNJ’s to imbue with “scary scary threats of vaccination” meanings.


And now Rand Paul says he is making a criminal referral to the DoJ against Dr Fauci for lying to Congress.


Oh, please, let’s make a criminal issue out of everyone who has lied to congress! Please!


I mean, the NIH funded some sort of work at a virus laboratory in China. I just wonder why the heck we are funding things like that at all? Let’s just have the Department of Agriculture fund nerve agent pesticides in Russian labs now.

Health organizations work across national boundaries all the time. And there is a perfectly legitimate reason to do so - disease doesn’t respect national boundaries.

But sure… let’s lean into conspiracy theories… /s


From the article I posted above:

In 2014, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the part of the NIH headed by Fauci, awarded a $3.4 million grant to the New York-based EcoHealth Alliance, which aims to protect people from viruses that jump from species to species.

The group hired the virology lab in Wuhan to conduct genetic analyses of bat coronaviruses collected in Yunnan province, about 800 miles southwest of Wuhan. EcoHealth Alliance paid the lab $598,500 over five years. The lab had secured approval from both the U.S. State Department and the NIH.

So, seven years ago a division of the NIH (which was headed by Fauci) awarded a grant to an American NGO that studies how viruses jump from species to species. That NGO, on its own initiative and as a common practise, hired an internationally recognised and U.S.-government-approved lab in Wuhan to do some genetic analyses of coronaviruses in bats from a nearby region in China.

And yet somehow, Rand Paul wants his followers to conclude from all this that Fauci’s NIH directly contracted with the lab to create what became COVID-19. As noted above, a particularly stupid conspiracy theory.


Not to mention that due to the international cooperation with China. The world had a genetic sequence of the virus widely disseminated by February 2020.


“That sounds like Bernie” commented my children. “Well, they grew up in Brooklyn one year apart, so it’s not a big surprise.”


This is actually really crucial point: the only reason we have any vaccine now - developed in record time - is because of this research.

Of course this just adds more fuel for conspiracy theorists who see sinister plots in everything. There’s no hope for these types unfortunately.


How did absolutely nobody behind even blink during that? No lip twitches, no closed eyes, not even a telltale shift in the seat? They are either all out or body or have the best facial control ever.

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The GQP are going to be litigating this for the next several years in an attempt to bend the truth to their damned political ideology.