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WHO ‘too compromised’, says ex-US CDC director, pushes ‘lab leak’ Covid origin theory again

Manner in which Covid-19 spread so quickly from human to human contradicts the behaviour of other deadly viruses with a similar profile, Robert Redfield tells Fox News.

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New Delhi: Robert Redfield, the former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has once again asserted that he believes Covid-19 in all likelihood emerged from a lab in China.

In an exclusive interview to Fox News, the former CDC director, who served in the Donald Trump administration until January 2021, said the novel coronavirus having leaked from a lab was the most likely explanation for the pandemic’s origins.

According to Redfield, the manner in which Covid-19 spread so quickly, from human to human, contradicted the behaviour of other deadly viruses with a similar profile — such as SARS and MERS, which reached humans through animal contact but spread at a much slower pace.

On the World Health Organization (WHO) verifying this theory, Redfield asserted that the WHO was “too compromised” by China to conduct a transparent investigation. In March, the international organisation concluded in a joint report with China that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely”.

In his interview to Dr Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center, Redfield said: “Clearly, they were incapable of compelling China to adhere to the treaty agreements that they have on global health, because they didn’t do that. Clearly, they allowed China to define the group of scientists that could come and investigate. That’s not consistent with their role.”

This is not the first time Redfield has spoken about Covid-19 likely to have escaped from a lab.

Also read: Lab leak or natural? How the evidence stacks up in the coronavirus origin investigation

Theory behind lab leak

Redfield, a virologist himself, said he did not think the virus went from a bat to an animal, and then to humans.

He said: “I’m just giving my best opinion as a virologist, and I don’t think it’s plausible that this virus went from a bat to an animal — we still don’t know that animal — and then went into humans and immediately had learned how to be human-to-human transmissible to the point of now causing one of the greatest pandemics we’ve had in the history of the world.”

While it has been reported that Dr Anthony Fauci, who is the US government’s top infectious-disease authority, and other doctors and scientists have played down the possibility that SARS CoV-2 leaked from a lab in China, Fauci has said he never played it down and always had an open mind on the origin of Covid-19.

“Until you nail it down definitively, you always have to keep an open mind that it might be something else and that’s the way I have always been from the very beginning, I have not changed my mind,” he said.

In May this year, President Biden asked the US intelligence community to present their findings in 90 days on the pandemic’s origins.

This is not the first time Redfield has indicated support for the lab leak theory. In March 2021, in an interview to CNN, he said he believed the virus escaped from a lab in China and did not go from animal to human. He had, however, stressed then this theory was just his opinion, not a proven fact.

Also read: I was sceptical of ‘lab leak’ theory. But new info, China’s cover-up made me see differently


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