The currently available evidence supports the theory that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese laboratory, former U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield told members of Congress on March 8.
“From the earliest days of the pandemic, my view was both theories about the origin of COVID-19 needed to be aggressively and thoroughly examined. Based on my initial analysis of the data, I came to believe—and I still believe today—that it indicates that COVID-19 more likely was the result of an accidental lab leak than a result of a natural spillover event,” Redfield, who directed the CDC during the Trump administration, said in his prepared opening remarks to the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.
“This conclusion is based primarily on the biology of the virus itself, including the rapid high infectivity for human-to-human transmission, which would then predict rapid evolution of new variants as well as a number of other important factors, which also include the unusual actions in and around Wuhan in the fall of 2019, all of which I am happy to discuss today,” Redfield added.
Redfield was one of four people set to testify Wednesday on to the new committee, which is controlled by Republicans and is seeking to pin down where COVID-19 came from.
Some scientists still strongly support the natural origin theory, but more than two years after the pandemic started, no host animal has been identified. Additionally, the virus itself contains signs it was engineered, according to some experts.
U.S. intelligence officials are divided over the origins. The FBI assesses that COVID-19 likely originated in the Wuhan lab, as does the Energy Department, but some other agencies lean towards the natural origin theory.
Redfield was also prepared to tell the panel that researching the origins is important.
“Even given the information that’s surfaced in the three years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, some have contended that there is really no point in investigating the origins of this virus. I strongly disagree. There is a global need to know what we are dealing with in COVID-19 virus because it affects how we approach the problem to try to prevent the next pandemic,” he wrote in his opening statement.