© Fox News/KJNDr. Anthony Fauci
And how debate was shut-down to protect "science"

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci and NIH Director Francis Collins have decried the theory that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology as a conspiracy theory.

Back in March 2020, Collins said claims that COVID-19 was engineered in a lab were "outrageous." He pointed to a new study that "debunks such claims by providing scientific evidence that this novel coronavirus arose naturally." Notably, one of the study's authors, Kristian Anderson, had previously informed Fauci that some features of the virus "look engineered."

Never to be outdone, in May 2020, Fauci told National Geographic that this virus "could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated." Could not. He left no room for doubt:
Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species
Today, Congressional Republicans released e-mails revealing scientists and researchers - people who are certainly not conspiracy theorists - informing Fauci and Collins of their beliefs that the virus was man-made.

Notes from a February 1, 2020 conference call were forwarded to Fauci and Collins on February 2, 2020. Here are the excerpts from the Republican release.
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Regarding the same February 1, 2020 phone conference, notes (likely communicating the position of Collins) state that experts needed to be convened to support the theory of "natural origin" or the "voices of conspiracy will quickly dominate, doing great harm to science and international harmony..." There was no concern for actually getting to the truth.
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Another February 2 email (to which Fauci and Collins were copied) from Dr. Andrew Rambaut states "from a (natural) evolutionary point of view the only thing here that strikes me as unusual is the furin cleavage site." Importantly, he observed the insertion "resulted in an extremely fit virus in humans."

Then there were efforts to completely shut down debate. Dr. Ron Fouchier remarked that debate on the origins of the virus would be a distraction and cause harm to science.
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And then in April 2020, we see Collins again asking government officials at NIH to "put down" the "very destructive conspiracy" that the virus was engineered.
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Fauci was less worried, commenting that this was a "shiny object that will go away in times." (Perhaps he was confident in the pressure the U.S. Government was putting on social media companies to shut down the man-made origins debate.)
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Of course, Fauci was wrong on that. The debate over the how the virus came to be will never go away - even if Fauci's friends at the Wuhan lab have made sure to destroy the evidence of its origins.