The virus from the Chinese Lab that triggers Covid-19, according to Robert Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emerged in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, contradicting the World Health Organization’s and most public health experts’ assessments.
Former Trump administration official Sanjay Gupta hypothesized in a Friday interview with CNN’s Sanjay Gupta that the virus started spreading in central China’s Hubei province in September or October 2019, a time period that is more in line with conventional science views.
“That is my own opinion. It’s just a point of view. Redfield, who was the CDC director from 2018 until the end of former President Donald Trump’s term, said, “I’m allowed to have opinions now.” On the state’s pandemic response, he is now a senior advisor for public health to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.
In regards to the virus’s roots, Redfield continued, “I am of the opinion that the most probable etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory.” I was able to get free. Others do not agree with you. That’s all right. It will take science a long time to find it out. It’s not uncommon for respiratory pathogens being examined in a laboratory to infect the lab worker.”
A WHO team concluded last month that the virus was “highly unlikely” to have leaked from a Chinese lab — specifically, the Wuhan Institute of Virology — and was more likely first transmitted to humans by an animal. While concerns remain on whether the WHO team’s inquiry was adequately free and transparent, a final report on their results is expected to be released soon.
Most scientists also believe the virus arose spontaneously and jumped from an animal to a human at some unknown stage, just as two similar viruses, SARS and MERS, did in the last two decades. Many scientists, however, say they can’t rule out the possibility that the virus escaped from a lab, though they think it’s impossible.
Later Friday, at a news conference by members of the White House Covid-19 Response Team, Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, discussed Redfield’s interview. He said that his former colleague was “only voicing an opinion” about the virus’s potential origins.
“I assume what he was voicing was that there are definitely possibilities… about how a virus adapts to an efficient spread among humans,” Fauci explained. “One of them is in the lab,” says the narrator. And one of them — the more likely one, which most public health officials agree on — is that it likely circulated throughout the Chinese community for several weeks, if not a month or more, causing it to be reasonably well-adapted when it was eventually identified clinically.”
“I don’t have any indication either for or against any of the theories that Dr. Fauci outlined,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, Redfield’s successor, said.
At her own press briefing on Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki commented on Redfield’s remarks, saying the Biden administration will “look closely at that information when it’s open,” referring to the upcoming WHO survey.
Since the first Covid-19 outbreak in the United States, a number of prominent conservative pundits, Republican politicians, and former Trump administration officials have supported the hypothesis that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, providing no evidence to back up their claims while attempting to blame the disease’s spread on China’s Communist government. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton (R) are among the most vocal advocates of the lab theory.
On Friday, Redfield clarified that his estimation of the virus’s source “does not indicate any intentionality” on the part of the Chinese government. But he insisted that the virus did not “somehow come from a bat to a human and, at that point in time… became one of the most contagious viruses that we know in humanity, for human-to-human transmission.”
When a pathogen transmits from an animal to a person, the former CDC director explained, “it takes a while for it to find out how to become more and more effective in human-to-human transmission.” He said, “I simply do not believe this makes biological sense” for the virus that causes Covid-19.
“Yeah, let’s just say, I have coronavirus, and I’m working on it,” Redfield said, implying that the improved viral efficiency may have been cultivated in a laboratory environment. In the lab, the majority of us are attempting to develop viruses. We aim to assist in making things best, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, better, That’s how I built it.”