Former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Says Lab Leak ‘Most Likely’

Security personnel keep watch outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology during the visit by the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 3. (REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo)

A former member of Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force told Congressional Republicans he believed the coronavirus “most likely” originated from a lab accident in Wuhan, China.

Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary of health and a former four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, testified as an expert witness for a Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing held by House Republicans on Thursday, according to the Washington Examiner.

“Although we do not have yet indisputable evidence that points to the exact origin of the virus,” he said, “I asses that the most likely origin was an accidental infection of laboratory personnel in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, with secondary transmission to the local population and subsequent spread to hundred of millions of people around the world.”

“There is now an increasing body of circumstantial evidence pointing to a lab leak origin of the virus,” Giroir continued. “The bottom line is: I believe it’s just too much of a coincidence that a worldwide pandemic caused by a novel bat coronavirus that cannot be found in nature started just a few miles away from a secretive laboratory doing potentially dangerous research on bat coronaviruses. Sometimes, the most obvious explanation is indeed the correct one.”

A State Department release from January alleged that scientists and researchers in the Wuhan Institute of Virology “conducted experiments involving the bat coronavirus” and that researchers fell ill with symptoms that resembled the coronavirus pandemic in autumn of 2019.

Politicians and scientists are increasingly voicing their desire for more thorough investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.  A WHO report that asserted the pandemic originated naturally between animal-to-human transmission was criticized for its closeness to Chinese researchers that accompanied the WHO team.


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