Joe Biden demands follow-up investigation as Wuhan lab-leak theory gains traction

Joe Biden demands follow-up investigation as Wuhan lab-leak theory gains traction

John Kennedy, R-La., Wednesday during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Fauci acknowledged that he's relying on the statements and research from the "competent trustworthy scientists" in China who said they did not fund gain of function research with the USA grant money.

Former president Trump had also referred to Covid-19 as the "China virus" and the "China plague".

The fact sheet says: "The US government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illnesses".

The former head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Dr. Robert Redfield, a virologist, also told CNN earlier this year that the virus likely "escaped" from the lab, noting: "It's not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect a laboratory worker".

"I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we find out to the best of our ability what happened", said Dr Fauci, who is Mr Biden's chief medical adviser.

"Now, there were phase one results that came through". "We need to improve transparency, immediately share critical information about outbreaks with pandemic potential, and strengthen health systems to withstand shocks", Becerra said, while calling for a "strong and agile" WHO. "We need access to the information that the Chinese government has in order to make a determination through the worldwide bodies that would do this investigation". If the pandemic broke out via a lab leak, Rogin believes Fauci will have to answer a lot of tough questions, no matter what he calls it.

Psaki has since doubled down on the White House's calls for an independent investigation and has pledged that the United States "would certainly participate in that with all our resources".

The WHO report stated a laboratory incident is considered an "extremely unlikely" cause of the pandemic compared to other possible causes (such as being passed from an animal to a human). The team's 40-page report devoted just three pages to the lab-leak hypothesis, and members of the mission have said they were not qualified or able to conduct a thorough investigation of the hypothesis. Fauci, too, has urged further probe into the virus' origins.

In February 2020, security personnel stood guard outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China during the visit of a World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

On Tuesday, the United States and other countries sought a more detailed investigation into the origin of the pandemic after it was discovered that its global mission to China earlier this year was inconclusive.

But the World Health Organization probe was criticized by the US, United Kingdom and other governments over its limited access to "complete, original data and samples".

In his address, Becerra did not mention China directly, but his remarks came days after a Wall Street Journal report in which USA intelligence officials are quoted saying three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the central Chinese city of Wuhan sought hospital care in November 2019, several weeks before China acknowledged the first case of the new highly infectious disease in the community.

Nonetheless, the investigators said more work was needed to definitively trace the origins of the coronavirus.

Addressing reporters on Monday evening, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian hit out at the claims, insisting they are "totally untrue".

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