Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said he received death threats for supporting the theory that the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, an explanation that has gained popularity over the last few weeks.
Robert Redfield © Provided by Washington Examiner
Redfield's suspicions around the Wuhan Institute of Virology reportedly began stirring in early January 2020, when Chinese officials, specifically Dr. George Fu Gao, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control, contacted him about COVID-19 in the very beginning stages of its development, he told Vanity Fair in a report released Thursday. The health authority said he requested to send researchers to the lab to test workers for antibodies, but his pleas were ignored.
Redfield, who served as the CDC director under former President Donald Trump, made headlines earlier this year after coming forward with his support for the lab leak theory, though the scientific community, he said, levied death threats against him for peddling the hypothesis.
“I was threatened and ostracized because I proposed another hypothesis,” Redfield told Vanity Fair. “I expected it from politicians. I didn’t expect it from science.”
On March 26, Redfield went public with his theory that COVID-19 escaped from the Wuhan lab accidentally and hinted that the mishap followed "gain-of-function" research, which intends to bolster the infectious capacity of viruses.
“That’s my own view. It’s only an opinion. I’m allowed to have opinions now,” he said during an interview with CNN. “You know, I am of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathology in Wuhan was from a laboratory. You know, escaped. Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out. It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect the laboratory worker.”
He added: “That’s not implying any intentionality. It’s my opinion, right? But I am a virologist. I have spent my life in virology. I do not believe this somehow came from a bat to a human, and at that moment in time, the virus came to the human, became one of the most infectious viruses that we know in humanity for human-to-human transmission. Normally, when a pathogen goes from zoonotic to a human, it takes a while for it to figure out how to become more and more efficient in human-to-human transmission. I just don’t think this makes biological sense.”
On May 26, President Joe Biden ordered the U.S. intelligence community to "redouble" its "efforts to collect and analyze information" to bring the country "closer to a definitive" conclusion on the origin of COVID-19. His comments followed a report from the Wall Street Journal that indicated three scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in November 2019 “with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness.”
Anthony Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, has come under fire this week after a trove of his emails were published following a Freedom of Information request by Buzzfeed and the Washington Post. Previously unseen correspondence showed the health authority attempting to dispel the lab leak hypothesis.
In one April 2020 exchange, Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth Alliance, a research group that secured a grant to perform coronavirus research in Wuhan before the pandemic, wrote to Fauci “to say a personal thank you on behalf of our staff and collaborators” after Fauci dismissed the idea that the pandemic started due to a lab accident in Wuhan.
Fauci replied to the email, which came on April 18, 2020, to thank Daszak for his “kind note.” Earlier in the day, Fauci was asked directly about the lab leak hypothesis during a coronavirus briefing, and he said the scientific evidence “is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human."
Original Author: Jake Dima