Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter, revealed that there was a Slack channel called "Fauci Fan Club" for employees who supported Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and President Biden's chief medical adviser.
In a Twitter thread on Wednesday, Musk accused Fauci of supporting gain-of-function research, which involves modifying the genetics of an organism to enhance some specific function. He mentioned the existence of the "Fauci Fan Club" Slack channel in this context.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, gain-of-function research involves enhancing the ability of a pathogen to cause disease in order to study its potential to cause a pandemic and inform public health preparedness efforts.
Musk responded to a post from software engineer Marc Andreessen, who shared a screenshot claiming that it was not accurate to say that Fauci had ever lied about his work or public health efforts.
Some Republican senators, such as Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), have accused the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. However, Fauci has denied these allegations.
Gain-of-function research, which involves enhancing the ability of a biological entity to perform a specific function, is a common practice that is often performed using cells and organisms like mice and worms. However, it has sparked controversy when it is conducted using pathogens, as some scientists have raised concerns about the potential risks if such research is not conducted with proper safety measures in place. According to The Washington Post, an increasing number of scientists have expressed these concerns.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology has gained significant attention in relation to one theory about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, which suggests that a pathogen accidentally leaked from the lab and caused the pandemic to start.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic are uncertain, but that the theory that it may have been caused by a lab leak should be investigated.
Some conservative critics of Fauci have pointed to a grant that the NIH provided to a nongovernmental organization called EcoHealth Alliance, which was used to conduct genetic analyses of bat coronaviruses in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Fauci has acknowledged that the study took place at the Wuhan lab, but he has denied that it was intended for gain-of-function research on human-made superviruses.
“Despite these glaring issues, Twitter nonetheless had an internal Slack channel unironically called ‘Fauci Fan Club,’” Musk tweeted.
Despite these glaring issues, Twitter nonetheless had an internal Slack channel unironically called “Fauci Fan Club” 🤯
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 28, 2022
Musk has previously called for Fauci to be prosecuted, tweeting earlier this month that his pronouns are "Prosecute/Fauci." This statement received widespread criticism online.