World China Opposes Studying Lab Leak in Any New Virus Origins Probe
Fauci says he still thinks nature, not Wuhan lab, 'most likely' origin for COVID-19
The “most likely” origin for COVID-19 is in nature in the absence of any recent “concrete evidence” supporting the Wuhan lab leak hypothesis, according to President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser.Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made the comments following a new report contending that some top officials in the Biden administration now view the accidental lab escape theory being at least as plausible as the the notion that it emerged in a natural transfer from animals to humans.
(Bloomberg) -- China pushed back against the World Health Organization’s call for another probe into the coronavirus’s origins that includes examining whether it leaked from a lab, saying there’s no evidence for the theory and it defies common sense.
The pathogen most likely arose in an animal, which transmitted it to humans via an intermediate host, a group of top Chinese science officials insisted at a briefing in Beijing on Thursday. They praised an earlier report from the WHO that pointed primarily to animals, while finding that the lab leak hypothesis was “extremely impossible.”
Rand Paul sends criminal referral to DOJ saying Fauci lied about gain-of-function research funding
Sen. Rand Paul requested that Attorney General Merrick Garland criminally investigate Dr. Anthony Fauci over Senate testimony in which President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser testified that the National Institutes of Health never funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which the Kentucky Republican says is a lie. © Provided by Washington Examiner Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, insists that the NIH grants did not fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab and has repeatedly defended U.S. funding going to bat coronavirus research in China.
The Wuhan laboratory at the center of the controversy “never had the virus,” said Liang Wannian, an epidemiologist who headed the team of Chinese experts working with the WHO. “There’s no need for us to put more resources into a lab leak probe.”
The hypothesis was once dismissed as a conspiracy theory by opponents of former U.S. President Donald Trump, whose administration raised the possibility ahead of the 2020 election. The premise subsequently gained traction as scientists questioned China’s reluctance to provide access to primary source material, attention grew over efforts among some virologists to make viruses stronger, called “gain of function” work, and some world leaders called for a deeper probe.
Read More: What the World Wants China to Disclose in Wuhan Lab Leak Probe
Blinken meets WHO director-general to push investigation in coronavirus origins
KUWAIT CITY — World Health Organization investigators ought to return to China for “studies into the” origins of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who urged a meeting with the global health body’s chief. © Provided by Washington Examiner “He stressed the need for the next phase to be timely, evidence-based, transparent, expert-led, and free from interference,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price on Wednesday evening after Blinken’s discussion with WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
While China has consistently rejected the lab hypothesis, officials sought to draw a line in the sand Thursday, signaling Beijing won’t engage on the origin hunt if the theory remained in play. It was China’s most direct pushback to date on calls from the WHO and others to investigate the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s high-level lab, which studied bat-borne pathogens and other coronaviruses.
Video: 'Premature' to ignore Covid-19 'lab theory' -WHO's Tedros (Reuters)
“The plan on the second phase of the origin study, it contains language that does not respect science or common sense,” said Zeng Yixin, vice minister of the National Health Commission. “We won’t follow such a plan.”
U.S. President Joe Biden in May said the U.S. intelligence community was divided on whether the virus emerged from human contact with animals or from a laboratory accident, and he ordered them to “redouble their efforts” and report back by late August. The move renewed suspicion that the virus could have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where researchers are known to have been studying other coronaviruses.
White House blasts China's 'dangerous' rejection of coronavirus origins study
The White House on Thursday called China's rejection of a second phase of the World Health Organization's (WHO) investigation into the origins of the coronavirus "irresponsible" and "dangerous.""We are deeply disappointed. Their position is irresponsible and frankly dangerous," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters when asked about Beijing's rejection of the investigation, which would examine the possibility the virus emerged from a laboratory.
Chinese officials said they are committed to uncovering the origins of the novel coronavirus, a matter that deserves serious study and should be based on science. The WHO’s plans to make the lab leak hypothesis a priority for the next stage of research has been contaminated by political posturing and displays “arrogance against science,” Zeng said.
China has been in the crosshairs since the start of the pandemic in late 2019, after being criticized for delaying research efforts and restricting the access of independent investigators. Now global leaders including the head of the WHO, the Australian government and others areon Beijing to cooperate with the next stage of deciphering the virus’s creation story, which is essential to understanding what befell the globe and reducing the risk of future pandemics.
Read More: WHO Chief Faults Covid Report for Dismissing Lab Leak Theory
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in March said the global body’s first probe didn’t adequately analyze the possibility of a lab accident before deciding it’s most likely the pathogen spread from bats to humans via another animal. He said scientists would benefit from “full access to data,” including biological samples from at least September 2019, and he was willing to deploy more resources to investigate.
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Moderate Democrats call for 9/11-style panel to probe COVID-19 origins .
A bloc of moderate House Democrats on Wednesday called for the creation of a bipartisan, 9/11-style commission to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 virus in China and assess the United States' response to the pandemic that killed more than 600,000 Americans. Leaders of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and their GOP counterparts urging them to pass legislation that would establish a national COVID-19 commission. The origins of the coronavirus are still unknown.