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Dr. Fauci dismisses ex CDC Director Dr. Redfield’s belief that COVID leaked from a Wuhan lab

Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissed the belief from former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield who had claimed that COVID-19 leaked from a Wuhan lab – but said he is ‘entitled to his opinion.’

Redfield had said in an interview with CNN‘s Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Friday his ‘opinion’ was that the coronavirus had spread from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and that it had been spreading in China for months before it was detected.

‘I’m of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathology in Wuhan was from a laboratory. Escaped. Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out,’ Redfield said.

Fauci, however, shot down those claims when asked about them at Friday’s White House COVID-19 briefing – noting that if the virus had been circulating for months it would make the assertion that it came from a lab less likely.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissed the belief from former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield who had claimed that COVID-19 leaked from a Wuhan lab

The former director of the CDC , Robert Redfield, says he believes COVID-19 'escaped' from a lab in Wuhan and may have been circling since September 2019

The former director of the CDC , Robert Redfield, says he believes COVID-19 ‘escaped’ from a lab in Wuhan and may have been circling since September 2019

Researchers work in a lab of Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China in 2017

Researchers work in a lab of Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China in 2017

‘So when you think about the possibilities of how this virus appeared in the human population, obviously there are a number of theories,’ Fauci said in the briefing

‘The issue that would have someone think it’s possible to have escaped from a lab would mean that it essentially entered the outside human population already well adapted to humans, suggesting that it was adapted in the lab.’

However, Fauci said that most public health officials believe that  the virus was actually circulating in China for a month or more before they were clinically recognized at the end of December 2019. 

‘If that were the case, the virus clearly could have adapted itself to a greater efficiency of transmissibility over that period of time up to and at the time it was recognized,’ Fauci said.

‘So, Dr. Redfield was mentioning that he was giving an opinion as to a possibility. But, again, there are other alternatives — others that most people hold by.’

Later in the briefing, Fauci was again asked about Redfield’s comments and said ‘he’s entitled to his opinion now.’

‘I think what he likely was expressing is that there certainly are possibilities, as I mentioned just a few moments ago, of how a virus adapt itself to a efficient spread among humans,’ Fauci said.

He said it is ‘more likely’ that the virus flew under the radar ‘spreading in the community in China for several weeks, if not a month or more, which allowed it, when it first got recognized clinically, to be pretty well adapted.’

‘But according to the words of Dr. Redfield, he was saying — he was just expressing an opinion and an option of what it could be,’ Fauci reiterated.

This file aerial view taken on April 17, 2020 shows the P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan

This file aerial view taken on April 17, 2020 shows the P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan

Security keep watch outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology during a visit by the World Health Organization team tasked with investigating the origins of COVID-19 on February 3, 2021

Security keep watch outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology during a visit by the World Health Organization team tasked with investigating the origins of COVID-19 on February 3, 2021

Shi Zhengli, left, works with other researchers in a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in 2017

Shi Zhengli, left, works with other researchers in a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in 2017

Fauci also said Redfield, pictured, is 'entitled to his opinion' and 'was expressing is that there certainly are possibilities' for how the virus emerged

Fauci also said Redfield, pictured, is ‘entitled to his opinion’ and ‘was expressing is that there certainly are possibilities’ for how the virus emerged

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new CDC Director, said the Biden administration currently has no ‘indication for or against either of the hypotheses.’

She said the CDC is waiting to review a report from the World Health Organization that will examines the origin of this pandemic and its appearance in humans.

Redfield’s comments were the first time the Trump-appointed CDC director had stated publicly he believes COVID-19 originated in a lab and not in a wet market where it has been said the virus jumped from a bat to a human.

‘I’m of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory… escaped. Other people don’t believe that, that’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out,’ Redfield said.

‘It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in laboratories to infect the laboratory worker.

‘That’s not implying any intentionality. It’s my opinion, right? But I am a virologist. I have spent my life in virology.’


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