Why are people talking about Dr Anthony Fauci's emails?

Members of a World Health Organization team visit the Hubei Animal Epidemic Disease Prevention and Control Center in Wuhan in February. | REUTERS

The emails, which were released to media organizations as part of a Freedom of Information Act request, show Fauci navigating the early days of the pandemic when he became a public face of the US government's response. Fauci discussed the possibility that US funding might have helped to pay for gain-of-function studies in Wuhan.

'But in our experience with grantees, including Chinese grantees, which we have had interactions with for a very long period of time - they are very competent, trustworthy scientists, ' Fauci testified.

A number of Republicans have expressed outrage that the National Institutes of Health gave $3.4 million to EcoHealth Alliance from 2014 to 2019 and $600,000 of that went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The White House said two branches of the intelligence community believe the Sars-Cov-2 virus was transmitted naturally, but a third believes it came from the Wuhan Institute. The lab leak theory was ridiculed as a conspiracy theory by the mainstream media and many experts until evidence was uncovered and compiled by a group of online sleuths that forced them to admit the possibility. It should be noted in April this year, a globally respected U.S. weekly magazine Newsweek had reported that an organization backed by top USA health advisor Dr Anthony Fauci had funded Chinese scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology for research on coronavirus.

But in recent days, amid criticism of an inconclusive global probe into the virus' origins and new reports of Covid-related illness in the region weeks before it was officially identified, the theory is once again sparking debate.

Dr Fauci responded: "I understand".

Lionised on prayer candles and bobble-head toys, the emails show Dr Fauci professing discomfort with the adulation coming from many corners of the internet.

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After Covid-19 was declared a pandemic past year, Fauci publicly downplayed the possibility that the virus didn't develop naturally.

'Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy, ' said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on March 30, when WHO's COVID-19 origins report became publicly available.

For di early months of di virus, United States goment bin still dey work out mask guidance - one move wey many pipo criticise say e add to di confusion.

A request for comment from Paul's office wasn't immediately returned.

Former President Donald Trump released a statement on Wednesday citing the emails and criticizing Fauci.

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