The former director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Sunday (May 30) that the possibility of a laboratory origin for the coronavirus (the Chinese communist virus) has grown as more and more evidence about the Wuhan Institute has become public, while doubts about the theory of transmission from animals to humans have grown. He told CBS News that the theory that the virus emerged from live poultry and seafood markets has been “completely debunked.
Dr. Scott-Gottlieb, who served as FDA director between 2017 and 2019, said in the interview that the theory that the outbreak originated from a laboratory leak “continues to grow,” while the theory that it came from human-animal contact has not gained much traction.
He said there is now enough evidence to rule out the theory that the coronavirus came from the Wuhan “live poultry and seafood market” because “we have done an exhaustive search for so-called intermediate hosts, i.e., animals that may have been exposed to the virus before it was transmitted to humans. ” and “we found no such animals.”
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that three Wuhan Institute researchers contracted and were hospitalized in November 2019 with symptoms similar to those of the coronavirus (CCP virus), but the Beijing government only officially reported its first case of the CCP virus in December 2019.
During the initial stages of the pandemic, it was speculated that the virus might have been spread by animals sold at Wuhan’s local “wet market” – the South China Seafood Market.
But Gottlieb told CBS on Sunday that that theory has now been “completely debunked.
He said China holds the key to outside knowledge of the origin of the virus. The Beijing government could provide evidence such as blood samples from sick lab technicians, as well as the original source strain and early samples of the virus (but authorities do not).
“If we assess that there is some possibility or real possibility that (the CCP virus) could have leaked from the lab, that will affect how we respond to the whole issue,” Gottlieb said.
Laboratory leaks are not uncommon, he said, and there have been many earlier incidents, and it is important to find out what caused the pandemic because “we also need to look at public health from a national security perspective.”
“This is a disproportionate harm to the United States,” Gottlieb said, adding that the United States lost a lot of money during the pandemic.
He claimed, “I think what we may end up with is an assessment, a probability, unless we get very lucky and we either find an intermediate host, we find a species of civet or pangolin that can be an intermediate host …… or we have an informant in China (with inside knowledge) or there is a regime change (in the Chinese Communist Party), otherwise we can’t (determine the origin of the outbreak)” and “we may also never really be able to determine whether the outbreak came from a laboratory.”
Biden ordered Wednesday (May 26) that 17 national laboratories run by the Energy Department would assist the Intelligence Department in a 90-day focused investigation to examine whether the virus leaked from the Wuhan virus lab.
The administration did not disclose exactly what type of data was submitted for analysis, but experts say it is likely previously collected intelligence, such as signal intercepts or biological evidence.
Biden also urged U.S. intelligence agencies and those of allied countries to look for new information that might reveal whether the Chinese Communist Party covered up the lab leak.
Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, said Beijing has not been forthcoming about the origins of the pandemic and “we should insist that they come clean and let us see clearly what happened at the lab in Wuhan.”
A wealth of circumstantial evidence has long raised questions about the leaked virus at the Wuhan Institute of Virus Research, with outsiders pointing out that researchers there have long conducted numerous experiments on strains of bat coronavirus. According to published papers, a coronavirus strain collected at the institute several years before the pandemic outbreak was more than 96 percent similar to the strain that caused the pandemic, making it the closest species to the pandemic strain to date.
The Chinese Communist government insists on denying the news that the Wuhan Virus Institute leaked the virus theory with researchers infected with the pandemic, claiming that the cross-contamination of animals with humans must have occurred in Wuhan’s South China Seafood Market.
In announcing the new intelligence review, Biden rebuked Beijing and called on allies to help “compel the Chinese side to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide all relevant data and evidence.
A senior Whitehall security source told The Telegraph that British intelligence agencies are assisting Biden’s new 90-day intelligence review.
The source said, “We are contributing the intelligence we have on Wuhan to offer to help the U.S. confirm and analyze any intelligence that they have that we can assist with.”
While the U.K. and Australia already share intelligence with the U.S. as part of the Five Eyes coalition, Biden’s new investigation could prompt them to redouble their focus on sharing evidence related to possible lab leaks.
Meanwhile, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and more than 200 of his Republican colleagues have called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to direct a Democratic-led committee to investigate the role of the Chinese Communist Party in the pandemic.
In a letter to the Democratic House speaker, Republicans said there is “growing evidence that the pandemic began in a laboratory in China” and that the Chinese Communist Party “covered it up.
“If that is the case, the Chinese Communist Party is responsible for the deaths of nearly 600,000 Americans and millions more around the world,” the letter said.