Dr. Anthony Fauci on Friday the claims made by the former director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield, dismissed that SARS-CoV-2 was made in a Chinese laboratory, and said that Redfield had only given an “opinion”.
During the coronavirus briefing at the White House, Fauci said the virus that causes COVID-19 likely spread to China weeks before it was discovered – which helped make it more contagious.
“The alternate explanation … is that this virus actually circulated in China, likely Wuhan, for a month or more before it was clinically detected in late December 2019,” Fauci explained. “If that were the case, the virus could clearly have adjusted to a higher transferability efficiency during this period by the time it was detected.”
In a new interview on Friday, Redfield, who oversaw the CDC at the height of the deadly global pandemic, said it was his “opinion” as a top virologist that SARS-CoV-2 “escaped” from the Wuhan laboratory.
It is widely believed that the highly contagious insect’s origins came from animals before it adapted to humans.
But Redfield said if it did, “It takes a while to figure out how to make human-to-human transmission increasingly efficient.”
“I just don’t think this makes biological sense,” he added.
Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, echoed Redfield’s comments that he only had one opinion.
“So Dr. Redfield mentioned giving an opinion on one possibility,” said Fauci, “but here too there are other alternatives, others that most people hold onto.”
Current CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who was asked to weigh up as well, said a World Health Organization report on the origins of COVID-19 was in preparation.
“I have no evidence for or against any of the hypotheses that Dr. Fauci just outlined,” she said.
Additional reporting from Natalie Musumeci