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Fauci on Blackburn video: 'No idea what she is talking about'

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: US surpasses 600K COVID-19 deaths | Federal watchdog to examine NIH grants, likely including Wuhan funding CDC labels highly transmissible delta strain a COVID-19 'variant of concern' Federal watchdog to examine NIH grants, likely including Wuhan funding MORE on Wednesday said he had "no clue" what Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnGOP senator introduces constitutional amendment to ban flag burning Fauci on Blackburn video: 'No idea what she is talking about' Pentagon report clears use of drones made by top Chinese manufacturer MORE (R-Tenn.) was referencing in a recent video she posted to her official Twitter account.

In the 50-second video, which Blackburn captioned "the facts on Fauci that big tech doesn’t want you to know," the GOP senator accuses the nation's top infectious diseases doctor of nefariously coordinating a "narrative" about the origins of the coronavirus with Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: NATO members agree to new cyber defense policy | YouTube banning politics, elections in masthead ads | 50 groups urge Biden to fill FCC position to reinstate net neutrality rules Pink Floyd's Roger Waters: 'No f---ing way' Zuckerberg can use our song for ad The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE.

"I don't have a clue what she just said. I have no idea what she's talking about," Fauci said during an interview with Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddOvernight Health Care: US to donate 500 million Pfizer doses to other countries: reports | GOP's attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message | Federal appeals court blocks Missouri abortion ban Fauci on Blackburn video: 'No idea what she is talking about' Fauci: Attacks on me are really also 'attacks on science' MORE on MSNBC. "I'm sorry, I don't want to be pejorative against a United States senator, but I have no idea what she's talking about."

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Blackburn's video is part of a pattern of attacks on Fauci from Republicans, seeking to discredit him and bolster the image of former President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE

The attacks, which began when Trump was in office, have intensified in recent weeks following renewed attention to the origins of the coronavirus and the release of thousands of pages of Fauci's emails obtained by news outlets through public records requests.

Fauci has long faced scrutiny from Republicans over his evolved guidance on masking and other issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But as new questions have emerged about the true origins of the coronavirus, some Republican lawmakers and conservative commentators have seized on connections between Fauci and a lab in Wuhan, China, drawing unsubstantiated conclusions that Fauci was responsible for funding the creation of the coronavirus that caused the global pandemic. 

"It was Dr. FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: US surpasses 600K COVID-19 deaths | Federal watchdog to examine NIH grants, likely including Wuhan funding CDC labels highly transmissible delta strain a COVID-19 'variant of concern' Federal watchdog to examine NIH grants, likely including Wuhan funding MORE and his agency that wrote that check, sent that money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, to do this coronavirus research," Blackburn said. 

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Blackburn was likely talking about the grant given by the National Institutes of Health that went to the Wuhan Institute, which is the premier lab for studying coronaviruses, and the possibility that scientists at the lab were conducting "gain of function" research.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a $3.4 million grant to the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance from 2014 to 2019. The Wuhan Institute of Virology was awarded a $600,000 subgrant under that contract, for the purpose of researching bat coronaviruses over five years.

There is no evidence the virus was created in a lab. But scientists have said they cannot rule out the possibility that the virus may have leaked out of the Wuhan lab, which is the world's top coronavirus research institute. 

In numerous interviews and public appearances, Fauci has said the money to the Wuhan lab was not meant for gain-of-function research into human-made superviruses. 

"If you go through each and every one of the points — which are so ridiculous, just painfully ridiculous — but nonetheless if you go through each and every one of them, you can explain and debunk it immediately," Fauci said.