Dr. Hugh Auchincloss, selected to be Dr. Anthony Fauciâ€™s temporary successor at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spearheaded efforts to broaden the federal agencyâ€™s collaborative research with Chinese military-linked scientific institutions that funded controversial bat coronavirus research conducted by the Wuhan Institute of Virology and EcoHealth Alliance.
Auchincloss has served as Fauciâ€™s Principal Deputy Director, the second most powerful writhing the $6 billion agency, since 2006.
He is also the same aide that Fauci sent panicked emails – obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request – to about the gain of function research occurring in Wuhan in the early days of the pandemic. In a recent deposition, Fauci also identified Auchincloss as responsible for reversing a ban on federal funds supporting gain of function research in the case of Ralph Baric – who shared his deadly research tactics with scientists in Wuhan.
During his tenure, he appeared to serve as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) point person spearheading the agencyâ€™s collaborative research with efforts, including leading a delegation to China in 2011 to sign a memorandum of understanding with a military-link Chinese entity known as the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). The NFSC ultimately became one of several funders – including Fauciâ€™s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) – supporting the controversial work manipulating bat coronaviruses by the Wuhan Institute of Virology and EcoHealth Alliance.
HUGH & THE CCP.
In 2010, former NIH Director Francis Collins had entered the U.S. government into a joint agreement with the NSFC to facilitate â€œcooperation in medical research.â€
He â€œexpressed his hope to further push the substantial collaboration between researchers in medical sciences of the two countries by taking the advantage of the NSFC-NIH Memorandum of Understanding,â€ notes an NSFC summary.
The following year, a 16-person delegation from the NIH â€“ headed by Auchincloss â€“ visited Beijing to meet with their Chinese Communist Party counterparts to solidify â€œcarry[ing] out the funding of joint research programs.â€
As an NSFC press release notes:
â€œ34 projects were selected for joint funding over the meeting. The two sides also held discussions on topics such as priority areas or the next round and evaluation and funding mechanisms. Besides a workshop on funding management was held following the evaluation session and staff member from both sides shared experience and ideas on issues ranging from peer review process to post-funding management. The meeting has been highly recognized by both sides as a milestone in the collaboration between NSFC and NIH.â€
Beyond describing itself as a state-owned scientific body that is â€œguided by President Xi Jinpingâ€™s Socialist Thoughtsâ€ and â€œearnestly implementing the spirit of the Partyâ€™s 19th National Congress,â€ the NSFC has collaborated extensively with the regimeâ€™s Peopleâ€™s Liberation Army (PLA).
The Natural Science Foundation of Chinaâ€™s 2020 funding guidelines identify â€œinnovative research in defense and military and civilian integrationâ€ as receiving â€œpreferentialâ€ funding. The foundation also inked a 2016 â€œstrategic cooperative agreementâ€ with the Science and Technology Committee of the Chinese Communist Partyâ€™s Central Military Commission â€“ the regimeâ€™s paramount military policy-making body.
Annual reports from NSFC reveal several researchers from PLA-run institutions received millions in funding.
Over 75 studies funded by the NSFC were conducted by researchers working for Chinese Communist military-run institutions. Studies funded by NSFC have also been conducted by researchers from various branches of the PLA General Hospital including Wuhan-based facilities.
Studies conducted by researchers from the Artillery Academy of the PLA and Unit 63880 of the PLA, which is a â€œkey military and national base for testing electronic information systems under electromagnetic environments,â€ have also enjoyed NSFC funding.
In addition to funding PLA researchers, the NSFC has also explicitly co-sponsored projects alongside the PLA.
Studies carried out under a controversial NIAID grant to EcoHealth Alliance, which funded bat Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-like coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, also identify NSFC as financially supporting the research.
Five studies focusing on bat coronavirus research from 2016 to 2018 list both NIAID and the NSFC as their primary funders, including a 2016 study authoredby EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak and the Wuhan Institute of Virologyâ€™s Shi Zheng-li focusing on the â€œmodulation of the host immune responseâ€ in bat SARS-like coronaviruses. Daszak and Shi appear together on two other SARS-like coronavirus studies in 2017and 2018.
WHAT DOES HUGH KNOW?
Auchinclossâ€™s intimate role in fostering collaboration between China and the U.S. on scientific research, perhaps even the studies that scientists allege have led to the creation of COVID-19, also comes amidst Fauci sending him panicked emails about the potential â€œgain-of-functionâ€ research that occurred at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Dated February 1st, the emailÂ obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request from Fauci to Auchincloss stated:
It is essential that we speak this AM. Keep your cell phone on. I have a conference call at 7:45am with Azar. It likely will be over by 8:45am. Read this paper as well as the e-mail that I will forward you now. You have tasks today that must be done.
The academic paper included on the message is titled A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergenceÂ and focused on manipulating viruses to understand better how they might attach themselves to humans.
The abstract explains:
â€œUsing the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone. The results indicate that group 2b viruses encoding the SHC014 spike in a wild-type backbone can efficiently use multiple orthologs of the SARS receptor human angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2), replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells and achieveÂ in vitroÂ titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV.â€
During a recent deposition of Fauci, he also appeared to blame aides – likely Auchincloss – for granting exceptions to researchers conducting deadly gain-of-function research such as Ralph Baric. While discussing the research activity of Baric, who has been described by Wuhan Institute of Virology bat coronavirus researcher as a â€œlongtime collaboratorâ€, Fauci explicitly pointed to Auchincloss as responsible for giving Baric an exemption to the agencyâ€™s ban on the deadly form of research.