Washington: The theory that COVID-19 originated in Wuhan lab in China has gained strength while Beijing’s claim of coronavirus being transmitted through an animal has failed to convince the world.
According to New York Post, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration Sunday (local time) said that the argument for COVID-19 originating in a lab has grown — while the animal source origin theory has “contracted.”
“The side of the ledger that suggests that this could have come out of a lab has continued to expand, and the side of the ledger that suggests this has come from of a zoonotic source, come out of nature, really hasn’t budged, and if anything you can argue that that side of the ledger has contracted,” Dr Scott Gottlieb said.
“We’ve done an exhaustive search for this so-called intermediate host, the animal that could have been a host to this virus before it spread to human, [and] we have not found such an animal,” Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner from 2017 to April 2019, explained further.
He countinues to say: “We’ve also fully disproven the market, the food market that was originally implicated in the outbreak as the source of the outbreak, so that side of the ledger probably has shrunken.”
The Chinese government could provide “exculpatory” evidence showing the virus that caused the pandemic didn’t leak from a lab in Wuhan, but they’ve yet to do so, Gottlieb said.
“They could provide the blood samples from those who worked in the lab in Wuhan, they’ve refused to do that, they could provide the source strains, some of the original strains, they’ve refused to do that, they could provide access to some of the early samples that we can sequences, they can provide an inventory of what was in the lab [at] The Wuhan Institute of Virology, the lab that has been implicated in a potential lab leak, they have refused to do that,” he said.
If the theory was determined by experts to be probable, the development could lead to heightened safety measures in labs where people conduct research on viruses, he said.
“It’s important to understand what the possibility is that this came out of a lab, so we can focus more international attention on trying to get better inventories about these labs, better security, make sure they’re properly built,” said Gottlieb.
But when it comes to knowing how to handle the spread of the virus, Gottlieb said knowing whether it started in a lab or in from animals wouldn’t change much.
Meanwhile, WHO team investigating the origins of COVID-19 in China found no evidence that the virus leaked from the Wuhan lab.
Last week, the Biden administration pushed China for a further probe into a possible leak from the Wuhan lab. However, China state media rejected the idea that COVID-19 had originated there and said that it is “a conspiracy created by US intelligence agencies”, reported New York Times Post.