“With all due respect, you are entirely, completely incorrect.” The National Institutes of Health, “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

That was Biden adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci during a May 11 hearing, responding to Sen. Rand Paul. The Kentucky Republican wondered whether U.S. tax dollars supported the dangerous research that could have led to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“What Dr. Fauci said yesterday was verifiably false,” Sen. Paul told reporters on May 12. Paul cited a paper from China’s “bat scientist,” a reference to Wuhan virologist Shi Zhengli. She “acknowledged her funding came from Dr. Fauci’s group, the NIAID, which is part of NIH. So he is verifiably telling you something that is not true.”

Paul, a physician, is one of the few in Congress to track gain-of-function research, which he describes as “juicing up these viruses to make them very potent and infect humans.” According to the Office of Science Policy of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), gain-of-function research can “enhance the pathogenicity or transmissibility of potential pandemic pathogens (PPPs),” and that can raise “biosafety and biosecurity concerns.”

As journalist Nidhi Subbaraman explains in Nature, gain-of-function research “involves making pathogens more deadly or more transmissible.” In 2012, Fauci cited the risks of such research, wondering “what if that scientist becomes infected with the virus, which leads to an outbreak and ultimately triggers a pandemic?”

The NIH banned gain-of-function research in 2014, but revived it in 2017 with no objection from Fauci. In 2019, Fred Guterl of Newsweek said, “The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the organization led by Dr. Fauci, funded scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other institutions for work on gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses.”

The NIH, Guterl wrote, “committed $3.7 million over six years for research that included some gain-of-function work. The program followed another $3.7 million, five-year project for collecting and studying bat coronaviruses, which ended in 2019, bringing the total to $7.4 million.” Fauci didn’t respond to Newsweek’s request for comment.

The NIH issued a statement that “most emerging human viruses come from wildlife,” and “there is no evidence that suggests the virus was created in a laboratory.” That is also Fauci’s position. He told Margaret Brennan of CBS News on March 28, the most likely explanation was that the COVID-19 virus, “in nature, in the wild, it adapted itself.”

In addition to NIH funding, the Wuhan Institute of Virology received shipments of deadly pathogens from a lab in Canada. The pathogens, shipped to China by Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, included Ebola Makona, Mayinga, Kikwit, Ivory Coast, Bundibugyo, Sudan Boniface, Sudan Gulu, MA-Ebov, GP-Ebov, GP-Sudan, Henra, Nipah Malaysia, and Nipah Bangladesh.

Fauci’s statement that the COVID-19 virus “adapted itself” to humans in the wild is backed by no scientific study that had been peer-reviewed and replicated by an independent party. That should come as no surprise.

While Fauci earned a medical degree in 1966, his bio shows no advanced degrees in molecular biology or biochemistry. Strictly speaking, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden isn’t a virologist, and the statement that the NIH sent no money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology is hardly his first verifiable falsehood.

As author Michael Fumento showed in The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS, Fauci was wrong that AIDS would ravage the nation. Even so, Fauci duly continued at the helm of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate Kary B. Mullis, inventor of the polymerase chain reaction, said Fauci “doesn’t understand electron microscopy and he doesn’t understand medicine. He should not be in a position like he’s in.”

In 1968, the newly minted physician signed on as a “yellow beret” with NIH to avoid service at U.S. military hospitals in Vietnam. After 53 years in government, Fauci bags a salary of $417,608, more than the president of the United States, and NIAID boasts a budget of more than $6 billion. Despite all his money and power, Fauci never has to treat patients or face the voters.

Fauci has “no doubt” that COVID-19 deaths were undercounted. On the other hand, he remains evasive on the origin of the pandemic and tells verifiable falsehoods about U.S. funding for the Wuhan lab and dangerous gain-of-function research. If embattled Americans tend to disregard the Biden adviser, it would be hard to blame them.