- A resurfaced interview shows former CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield discussing gain-of-function research on bird flu viruses.
- Dr. Redfield expresses concerns about the funding of such research on a global scale, including in the United States, and argues that society needs to debate safety and responsibility implications.
- He also mentions that NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci had allowed gain-of-function research to be performed on bird flu viruses and that he disagreed with publishing the amino sequence changes required to make bird flu a pathogen for humans.
- Dr. Redfield predicts that a coming bird flu pandemic will be much worse than COVID-19.
- He expects the bird flu virus will “have significant mortality, in the ten to fifteen percent range.”
- Moreover, a 2012 journal Science publication funded by NIAID and NIH reveals the ease with which the H5N1 avian influenza virus could be turned into an airborne spreader in mammals, leading some experts to suppress publication of the details for fear of unleashing a dangerous virus.
As the Biden administration pushes vaccination for chickens against bird flu, a March 2022 interview regarding United States funding of gain-of-function research—which enhances the pathogenicity and lethality of viruses—has resurfaced, showing former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Robert Redfield admitting that such research has already been conducted on bird flu viruses.
“I think the sad thing is that the United States is funding gain-of-function research on a global scale, including here in the United States,” said Dr. Redfield in response to a question about the U.S. funding gain-of-function on coronaviruses in China.
“And I don’t believe it’s something that should be decided by a group of scientists. I think its ramifications are such that society needs [to] debate whether we should be doing gain-of-function research. And if so, how can we do it in a safe and responsible way?” he asked, before describing how National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci allowed gain-of-function research to be performed on bird flu viruses.
“This is a major disagreement I’ve had with my colleague Dr. Fauci—when they decided to publish the amino sequence changes that were required to make bird flu a pathogen for humans,” Redfield said. “I felt we shouldn’t publish that. We shouldn’t be doing this research. It’s potentially too dangerous [and] could cause a pandemic.”
A Jun 2012 Science publication funded by Dr. Fauci’s NIAID and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed that it “takes as few as five mutations to turn the H5N1 avian influenza virus into an airborne spreader in mammals,” thus “spilling the full experimental details that many experts had sought to suppress out of concern that publishing them could lead to the unleashing of a dangerous virus,” as reported by the University of Minisota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP).
Later in the interview, Redfield predicted a coming bird flu pandemic would be much worse than the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I don’t believe [COVID] is the ‘great pandemic,’” he said. “I believe the great pandemic is still in the future. And that’s going to be a bird flu pandemic from man. It’s going to have significant mortality, in the ten to fifteen percent range. It’s going to be trouble. And we should get prepared for it.”
Redfield went on to emphasize the danger of this expected imminent bird flu pandemic.
“I do believe that the pandemic risk is of greater risk to the national security of the United States than Korea, China, Russia, [and] Iran. And we ought to start investing proportional to that national security risk so we’re prepared. Unfortunately, we’re not more prepared today than we were when the [COVID] pandemic hit when I was CDC director. And we need to make that proportional investment so that we are prepared.”
Watch the interview: