Dr. Robert Redfield the former director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under Donald Trump told CNN that he believes the coronavirus originated from a lab in China.
“I am of the point of view that I still think the most likely ideology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory. Escaped. Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out. It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect the laboratory worker,” Redfield told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
He does not believe that the virus “somehow came from a bat to a human and, at that moment in time … became one of the most infectious viruses that we know in humanity, for human-to-human transmission.”
He suggested that the rapid human-to-human spread could be cultivated in a lab. “Yeah, let’s just say, I have coronavirus, and I’m working on it. Most of us in the lab are trying to grow virus. We try to help make it grow better and better and better and better and better and better, so we can do experiments and figure out about it. That’s the way I put it together.”
Redfield’s opinions on the origin of the virus contradicts the assessment of the World Health Organization and most public health experts.
The WHO said last month that the theory about the virus escaping from a lab in China is “extremely unlikely”
“The findings suggest that the laboratory incidents hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus to the human population,” Peter Ben Embarek, a WHO expert, said in February.
Dr. Anthony Fauci addressed Redfield’s comments during Friday’s White House coronavirus briefing. Fauci said Redfield was “just expressing his opinions” about the origins of the virus.
“I think what he likely was expressing is that there certainly are possibilities … of how a virus adapts itself to an efficient spread among humans,” Fauci added. “One of them is in the lab. And one of them — which is the more likely, which most public health officials agree with — is that it likely was below the radar screen, spreading in the community in China for several weeks, if not a month or more, which allowed it when it got recognized clinically to be pretty well-adapted.”
During Friday’s interview Redfield stressed that his opinion about the origin of the virus was “not implying any intentionality” on the part of the Chinese government.