On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Dr Chris Gottlieb, former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said that lab leaks happen all the time but identifying the origin of the virus is essential to help in identifying lapses in safety protocols and to reduce the implications of any future pandemics.
Former FDA Commissioner Fuels The Claims Of Lab Leak Of Coronavirus
Gottlieb, in the interview, pointed out that even U.S. is not immune to these mistakes. He reiterated that the last six known outbreaks of SARS-1 in China were borne out of labs.
“………including the last known outbreak, which was a pretty extensive outbreak that China initially wouldn’t disclose that it came out of a lab.” mentioned the former Commissioner when he came on T.V
CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen, the Senior Medical correspondent, agreed with the Ex- commissioner on the frequent lab leaks, pointing out the 1978 U.K. smallpox leak, which infected many people and 2014 U.S.’s Anthrax case, which didn’t cause illness. However, they rarely infected people on a large scale.
Cohen also stated that just because something was leaked doesn’t necessarily mean they were invented with the sole purpose to infect people.
In order for the natural transmission to take place, there was a need for an intermediate host that could transfer the virus from animal to human. However, in the case of covid-19, umpteen research still leads to the failure of finding out this host. This has lead to disapproving of the fact that covid-19 could have spread from the wet market of Wuhan, which has been the initial theory.
The lab leak theory has been gaining momentum since many theories and evidence have come out recently. ‘The Wall Street’ journal had published a report wherein it was established that many researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology were admitted to hospitals with Covid like symptoms even before the pandemic came to light. This, coupled with the fact that WIV was working on a SARS-like virus, which was also said to be funded by the U.S., only strengthened the suspicion of lab leak.
However, a recent report by the WHO, submitted after an investigation in Wuhan gas, denied these facts and stresses that it was a natural Zoonotic transmission through the intermediate host was yet to be determined.
Moreover, the Chinese government vehemently denies that the leak ever happened.
Gottlieb, however, argues, “We know the lab was engaging in very high-risk research, including infecting transgenic animals, animals with fully human immune systems.” And he insists that the labs were poorly built and maintained, which were all the recipes for mistakes.
The Chinese government’s lack of cooperation for open investigation has urged the U.S. intelligence services to become involved. In a recent press conference, the President of the US, Joe Biden, had ordered the investigation to look into the origins of the pandemic following the footsteps of the former President Donald Trump.
In response to these allegations, the Chinese government states that the pandemic actually started outside its borders. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused that the U.S. had released the virus from a military base.
Gottlieb believes in the need for transparency. The politics involved in the recent pandemic calls for a convolution of public health and national intelligence to protect the interests of the people and protect against any threat in the future.
WIV’s refused to share its raw data, safety logs, and lab records about its work on coronaviruses in bats to the international scientists who went there recently to investigate did not sit well with many nations and hence rejected the findings submitted by WHO citing Government pressure and coercion to hide the truth.