Intercept reporters discuss gain-of-function research

Intercept reporters Mara Hvistendahl and Sharon Lerner said that most of the experts they interviewed in their bombshell report on U.S. funding for coronavirus research before the pandemic agreed that an experiment funded by the U.S. met the definition for gain-of-function research.

"What we found was that there was one particular experiment that did fit the definition of gain and function research according to most of the scientists we interviewed," Lerner said during an appearance on Hill.TV's "Rising."

According to Lerner, the particular experiment they reported on had to do with chimeric viruses, which is a virus that contains genetic material from two different and distinct viruses. The virus that was studied in Lerner and Hvistendahl's reporting did not initially show enhanced function in petri dishes.

"But what these researchers did in this U.S.-funded experiment was they took these chimeric viruses and they injected them into genetically engineered mice," Lerner said.

She added that the researchers found that the chimeric viruses replicated much quicker in some cases and were found to make the mice more ill. 

"When we talk to people who are in this field and work closely on this kind of science they for the most part — with very few exceptions that we noted — agreed that this fit the definition of gain-of-function and I should say that we very specifically looked at [The National Institute of Health's] own definition," said Lerner.

White House chief medical adviser Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: CDC signs off on 'mix and match' vaccine boosters Fauci says it's recommended to get same vaccine for COVID-19 boosters The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Manchin, Sanders in budget feud; Biden still upbeat MORE has repeatedly denied that the NIH funded gain-of-function research, leading to clashes with lawmakers who have called for his termination.