A top microbiologist believes that a full investigation into the origins of COVID-19 is the only way to prevent repeated pandemics in the coming years and should be done with the full cooperation of China.
Peter Hotez, a professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, added his weight to calls for a thorough and transparent probe to determine whether the virus was leaking from a lab or from animals.
“There will be COVID-26 and COVID-32 unless we fully understand the origin of COVID-19,” Hotez said on Meet the press Sunday.
A growing consensus of scientists and commentators now believes that the virus is man-made and may have been accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
The theory that COVID-19 came from a lab has been promoted from the earliest days of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 by Republicans including Senator Tom Cotton, then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump.
But it has only just begun to be taken seriously by many experts and scientists, after extensive testing failed to trace the origin of the virus to a single animal species.
Last week, President Joe Biden said he would release an intelligence report on the origins of COVID-19 within 90 days.
China has aggressively resisted attempts to form an independent team of international researchers to investigate the origin of the virus, dismissing the lab leak as a conspiracy theory.
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Peter Hotez, professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, added his weight to calls for a thorough and transparent probe to determine whether the virus was leaking from a lab or from animals.
A meat vendor wearing a face mask waits for a customer at a market in Wuhan on April 2, 2020, after the city was almost completely isolated from its population of 11 million for more than two months. The theory that the virus comes from animals is no longer considered as likely as a lab leak
Hotez said coming to firm conclusions about how the virus originated was “absolutely essential” to prevent future pandemics.
The intelligence community had gone to great lengths to find out whether the virus originated in the wild or was a lab leak, Hotez said.
“What we need to do is do an outbreak investigation.
“We need a team of scientists from epidemiologists, virologists, bat ecologists in Hubei province for a period of six months… to a year to fully unravel the origins of Covid-19.
‘That includes collecting virus samples and blood samples from pets, from bats, from laboratory animals. It means doing the same for people living in the endemic area.”
Hotez said he had spent time in the Hubei province where the coronavirus originated.
“It’s this huge mixing bowl… of goats and pigs and ducks and chickens and a high population density. That is why all flu viruses often come from China. And so we have to figure this out.’
Republican Texas Rep. Mike McCaul believes it’s ‘more likely than not’ that COVID came out of Wuhan lab, accusing China of ‘worst cover-up in human history’
Meanwhile, Texas Republican Representative Mike McCaul believes it is “more likely than not” that COVID came out of the Wuhan lab and accused China of the “worst cover-up in human history.”
McCaul told CNN’s State of the Union Address that President Biden’s investigation was “way overdue” but fears it will come to nothing because scientists “destroyed everything in the lab.
He also called on the US to stop buying medical products from China as members of both Democrats and Republicans called for a congressional investigation into the origins of COVID.
“If we can pull these chains out of China, it will hurt economically,” McCaul said. “And that would be very punitive.” The Senate has already passed a measure by Republican Joni Ernst that would ban US funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb also said on Sunday that accidental lab leaks “happen all the time.”
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who served as then-President Trump’s FDA committee from 2017 to 2019, said on Sunday that the likelihood of COVID-19 originated in a lab is increasing, while the likelihood of the coronavirus being transmitted from animals to humans is increasing. is becoming.
COVID patients fill the makeshift Wuhan Fang Cang hospital in February 2020. Last week, it was announced that lab workers had tested positive for the virus in 2019.
Gottlieb, who served on then-President Trump’s FDA committee from 2017 to 2019, also shared: CBS News that the evidence that the virus came from the lab is expanding.
“And one side of the ledger that suggests this could come from a zoonotic source, from nature, really hasn’t changed.”
Gottlieb said there is enough evidence to rule out the earlier theory that the coronavirus originated from a “wet market” in Wuhan.
Gottlieb added: “And if anything, you could argue that side of the ledger contracted because we did an exhaustive search for the so-called intermediate host, the animal that could have been exposed to this virus before it spread to humans.” . .
“We have not found such an animal.”
Jon Karl told ABC This Week host Martha Raddatz on Sunday that he thinks reporters “have an egg on their face” because they initially refused to consider the lab leak theory
It came after liberal media reporters and pundits admitted over the weekend that they were wrong to reject the Wuhan lab leak theory just because it was embraced by former President Donald Trump.
Mainstream reporters had pushed back the idea that COVID-19 may have originated in a virology lab in Wuhan, China, and openly ridiculed the idea when Trump spoke openly about it in the early days of the pandemic.
But now those same reporters have admitted that it’s possible the virus came from a lab leak — as more scientists and political officials openly question the virus’s origin.
“I think a lot of people have an egg on their face,” Jonathan Karl told Martha Raddatz on Sunday morning.
This was an idea first launched by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, [and] President Donald Trump,” he continued on ABC’s This Week, “and some things may be true even if Donald Trump said them.”
He noted that the idea was widely rejected at the time, but now “serious people are saying a serious investigation is needed.”
New York Times reporter David Leonhardt also said: CNN that he thinks people “rejected” the theory too quickly because it was embraced by then-President Trump and Republican Senator Tom Cotton, who has also said the 2020 election was stolen.
“I think a lot of people on the political left and people in the media have made this mistake and said, ‘Wow, if Tom Cotton is saying something, it can’t be true,’ said Leonhardt. ‘Or they assumed. And that’s not right.
The lab leak theory has gained traction in recent weeks as more and more politicians and scientists begin to question the origin of the virus and how it mutated to infect humans.
Huanan’s wet market, where scientists say the first cluster of infections was officially reported, is just a few hundred meters from the Wuhan Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and just a few miles from the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab, where scientists reportedly conducting experiments on bats before the pandemic began.
The lab is one of the few in the world approved to treat class 4 pathogens — dangerous viruses that pose a high risk of person-to-person transmission.
Three researchers from the institute sought medical help in November 2019, before the virus started to spread, according to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal.