The former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said he believes the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, sometime in September or October, but has no evidence.
Robert Redfield, who headed the CDC during the Trump administration, shared his opinion on the origins of the pandemic during an interview with CNN.
“I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, you know, escaped,” Redfield said during the interview.
He added that he didn’t say that the release of the virus was intentional or accused China of purposefully releasing it. But he said that due to the virus’s strength, in how easily it spreads, he believes that it was developed in a lab.
Had it come from animals, Redfield says, the virus would have taken more time to spread between humans.
According to a report in Reuters, US infectious disease chief Anthony Fauci said most public health officials disagree with the Chinese lab theory when asked about Redfield’s comments.
He said that many people believed that the virus was circulating for a month or more before it was clinically recognised in China. In the time that it was circulating before being clinically recognised, it could have adapted itself to more efficient transmission between humans, said Fauci.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is due to release a report on the origins of the coronavirus soon. According to a Bloomberg report, there are four main theories, including the one that says it originated from a lab.
However, research shows that the most likely mode of transmission was to humans after spreading, and adapting, from bats to an intermediary host species. The report also states that WHO research didn’t find any evidence of the virus spreading before December 2019.
The present CDC director, Rochelle Walensky, declined to comment. She just said that she was looking forward to the WHO report examining the origins of the pandemic.
First Published: IST