Washington – Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday the “side of the ledger” suggests COVID-19 may come out of a lab in Wuhan, China, which continues to grow as the debate about the origin of the virus reigned last week.
“The challenge is that the side of the ledger that suggests it can come out of a lab is constantly evolving. And the side of the ledger that suggests it can come from a zoonotic source, from a natural, real that didn’t work, ”Gottlieb said in an interview with“ Face the Nation. ”“ And if anything, you could argue that that part of the ledger contracted because we did a meticulous search for the so -called mediator. host, the animal that could have been exposed to this virus before it spread to humans. no such animal has been found. “
The renewed focus on the origins of COVID-19 came after Reported in the Wall Street Journal three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology sought hospital treatment in November 2019 after falling ill. However, China did not report the first case of coronavirus until December 2019.
President Biden on Wednesday announced that he ruled the U.S. intelligence community to “double down” its efforts to investigate the origin of COVID-19 and set a 90-day deadline to “collect and analyze information that could lead us to a definite conclusion” about how the pandemic.
While the chief received a report from the intelligence community earlier this month investigating whether COVID-19 arose from human contact with an infected animal or through a laboratory accident, there is a discrepancy between of intelligence agencies, according to Mr. Biden.
Gottlieb said the theory that the origin of the coronavirus was a wet market in Wuhan was “completely unproven,” and he stressed that China could provide evidence to help identify its origins. , including blood samples from Wuhan lab employees, original source samples and first samples of the virus that could be sequenced.
“If we check that there is a likelihood or likelihood that it will come out of a lab, it will affect how it responds,” he said. “We need to focus on trying to get better control over this kind of research with the risk of going ahead and getting better control over BSL-4s, these security labs. who conducted this research. “
Gottlieb said lab leaks are not uncommon and there have been “accidents” that have occurred even in the US. But he said it was important to understand the possibility of the coronavirus coming out of a lab in order to have improved international attention on the said devices, including those from intelligence services.
“We also need to look at public health through the lens of national security,” he said. “It’s an asymmetric damage to the United States. COVID has done more damage to the U.S. than it has hurt many other countries.”
The U.S. economy came to a halt last year as states ordered residents to stay home and businesses closed their doors to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. More than 594,000 people in the U.S. have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Gottlieb said knowing the origin of COVID-19 may not affect the U.S. response to the pandemic and predicted that further investigation could lead to a likelihood, uncertainty, of how the virus emerged.
“We can’t really determine exactly if it will come out of a lab,” he said. “I think what we can end up with is a check, a probability, unless we’re very lucky and we find the host mediator, we’ll find a colony of civet cats or pangolins. where it’s an epidemic and it could be first poured into the people, or we have a whistleblower in China or regime change, that we can’t get in. I don’t know that we know with certainty that it comes out of one in the lab. “