Ex-US health official claims virus lab leaks happen ‘all the time’

‘If Covid originated in a Wuhan lab, it would take a whistleblower for truth to come out,’ he says

Maroosha Muzaffar
Monday 31 May 2021 10:12 BST
Scott Gottlieb says lab leaks 'happen all the time'
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A former head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that lab leaks “happen all the time,” seemingly supporting the Wuhan lab theory of Covid-19 origins.

In an interview with CBS, Scott Gottlieb said: “These kinds of lab leaks happen all the time, actually. Even here in the United States, we've had mishaps. And in China, the last six known outbreaks of SARS-1 have been 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 the lab.”

Mr Gottlieb was speaking with CBS’s “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson about his book titled “Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Defeated Us and How We Can Beat the Next.”

“It’s important to understand what the possibility is that this came out of a lab so we could focus more international attention on trying to get better inventories around these labs, what they're doing, better security, make sure they're properly built. We need to also look at public health through the lens of national security,” he added.

“This was asymmetric harm to the United States. Covid hurt the US a lot more than it hurt many other countries.”

Mr Gottleib had earlier stated that, if the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan, it would take a “whistleblower” for the truth to come out.

“I don’t think we’re ever going to get to the bottom of this. Because unless we have a whistleblower — assuming it did come out of a lab, and I’m not saying it did, but assuming it did — unless we have a whistleblower or a regime change in China, you’re not going to truly find out,” he said.

Earlier this month, it was claimed that months before Wuhan’s first case of Covid-19 was found, several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China became sick with flu-like symptoms and needed hospitalisation.

The Wuhan lab leak theory hasn’t been credited with any decisive evidence and many experts are calling for a deeper investigation into it.

Last week, President Joe Biden also asked its intelligence groups to “redouble” its efforts to determine the virus’ origins and gave them 90 days to come up with a conclusion. Mr Biden also told reporters that once the intelligence community comes up with a decisive conclusion, he will release the findings to the public.

“Another thing I talk about in the book, looking at these kinds of risks through the lens of national security, including getting our intelligence services more engaged in this mission. Traditionally, we've been- we've relied on international conventions and scientists working together, multilateral agreements to try to assess the risks and try to uncover these kinds of outbreaks,” Mr Gottleib said.

He added: “I think we also need to get better surveillance in place and use our tools of national security to help engage in that mission as well.”

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