The US’ top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci, who has over the last week been embroiled in criticism of his emails, is an “undeniable asset”, said the White House defending the President’s top coronavirus adviser, media reports said on Friday.

Over 3,000 pages of Fauci’s work emails during the pandemic between January and June 2020, obtained by the Washington Post, Buzzfeed News and CNN through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), has put the 80-year-old in a spotlight earning both praise and criticism, the BBC reported.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director has been the face of America’s Covid-19 response. But emails have raised questions on whether he backed Chinese denials of the theory that Covid-19 leaked from a lab in Wuhan.

“The President and the administration feel that Dr Fauci has played an incredible role in getting the pandemic under control, being a voice to the public throughout the course of this pandemic,” the BBC quoted Whote House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, as saying at her daily press briefing on Thursday.

Peter Daszak, head at EcoHealth Alliance, the global nonprofit that helped fund some research at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, in an email sent last April thanked Fauci for publicly stating that scientific evidence does not support the lab-leak theory.

Daszak praised FauciAcalling him “brave” for seeking to debunk the lab leak theory.

“Many thanks for your kind note,” Dr Fauci replied.

In an interview with CNN on Thursday, Fauci said the email had been taken out of context by critics and he had an “open mind” about the origin of the virus. Stating that the origins of the coronavirus are still uncertain, Fauci said: “You can misconstrue it however you want.

“That email was from a person to me saying ‘thank you’ for whatever it is he thought I said, and I said that I think the most likely origin is a jumping of species. I still do think it is, at the same time as I’m keeping an open mind that it might be a lab leak.

“The idea I think is quite far-fetched that the Chinese deliberately engineered something so that they could kill themselves as well as other people. I think that’s a bit far out.”

The emails conversations also offered a glimpse into the early days of the US Covid outbreak, his dealings with the government, foreign and domestic health officials, the media, celebrities and everyday Americans, the BBC report said. Fauci patiently tackled questions and even offered advice to people who wrote to him with very specific questions about what to do during the pandemic.