Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the White House, stated on Tuesday that if House Republicans decide to look into the causes of the Covid-19 outbreak, he will fully collaborate with them.
If the Republicans were to win a majority in the House of Representatives in the upcoming midterm elections, they pledged in August to launch such an investigation and ask Fauci to testify. Earlier last month, they achieved that majority.
During a press event at the White House on Tuesday, Fauci assured reporters that he would give his full cooperation and testify in any oversight hearings.
“I have no issue giving a testimony; we can back up and clarify what we’ve stated,”
As the country’s foremost authority on infectious diseases under the Trump and Biden administrations, Fauci came to represent the U.S. pandemic response.
He and congressional Republicans have frequently argued over whether the virus that causes Covid emerged spontaneously or escaped from a research facility in Wuhan, China.
According to Fauci, the likelihood of the virus spreading from animals to people is significantly higher.
In a report released in August 2021, U.S. intelligence agencies working under the Biden administration disagreed on the most likely source.
Four agencies evaluated with low confidence that the virus had a natural origin, according to the assessment, which did not identify those agencies. One agency had moderate confidence that the virus infected people after a lab incident.
Fauci announced earlier this year that, after nearly 40 years as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, he will retire in December.
On both sides of the political spectrum, Fauci enjoyed long-standing respect as a public health advocate.
Fauci, however, came to the attention of many conservative members of Congress as the pandemic response became more politicised under Republican then-President Donald Trump.
Republicans in Congress and Fauci have frequently clashed over mask and vaccine policy in addition to their disagreements over the virus’s origins.