Fact Check-Anthony Fauci not involved in monkey experiments, health agency says

U.S. Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci was not involved in controversial research aimed at eliciting and magnifying fear in monkeys. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) told Reuters the study was carried out by their organization and was not under the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which Fauci heads.

A tweet posted on Oct. 24 (here) reads: “Reading through Fauci’s experiments and the one I find most alarming is the use of an acid to destroy a region of monkeys’ brains to magnify terror. They then simulated images of spiders and tormented them with fear. Human DNA is 97% identical to apes. Why fund that research?”.

Similar claims have since spread on social media linking the physician to the experiment (here) (here).

In an email to Reuters, a spokesperson for the NIMH – the organisation that conducted the research – said Dr Fauci “is not involved and has never been involved in this study”.

NIMH is among 27 institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is an agency of the U.S. Health Department. Dr Fauci is the director of a separate NIH organization, called the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The spokesperson confirmed the study “was not funded by NIAID”, the organization Fauci has led since 1984.

The spokesperson maintained: “Animal studies play an important role in advancing our understanding of the brain in health and disease, and NIMH supports such research conducted in accordance with the highest scientific and ethical principles. All animals used in NIH-funded research are protected by laws, regulations, and policies that ensure researchers maintain the greatest commitment to animal welfare.”

The study on monkeys (here) has come under fire from animal rights organization PETA (here).


No evidence. Dr Anthony Fauci and the NIAID were not involved in the referenced study on monkeys, the NIMH said.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts  here  .