U.S disease experts on Sunday said that the world needs the cooperation of the Chinese government to trace the origins of Covid-19 and prevent future pandemic threats. Scott Gottlieb, a commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration in the Trump administration and a member of the board of Pfizer Inc. said that the information regarding the theory that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan of China has increased.
Gottlieb, on CBS News’s “Face the Nation”, stated that China hasn’t provided enough evidence to disprove the theory, while the search for signs that the virus emerged from wildlife hasn’t yielded results.
Meanwhile, in a separate TV appearance, Peter Hotez, co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Centre for Vaccine Development said that not knowing how the pandemic started puts the world at risk of future outbreaks.
While at NBC’s “Meet the press” Hotez warned that unless the world fully understands the origins of Covid-19, there’s going to be Covid-26 and Covid-32 in near future.
Even though it has been almost a year and a half after the new pathogen was first detected spreading in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, the exact origins of the virus remain unknown. Scientists have speculated that it could have most likely spread from wild animals to humans. But the Biden administration renewed attention on the idea that the virus may have accidentally escaped from a research lab, long promoted by some Republicans.
President Joe Biden, on Wednesday, called for a renewed investigation into the virus’s emergence. U.S. intelligence agencies had conflicting evaluations of whether the virus was passed on to a human from a natural reservoir or leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Biden gave an order to the agencies to intensify their efforts and report to him again in 90 days.
As per a report by Wall Street Journal on May 23, three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick in November 2019 and they sought medical care for symptoms in accordance with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness.
Hotez said that scientists should be allowed to conduct a long-term investigation in China and take blood samples from humans and animals for their research purpose. For this inquiry, the U.S. should pressure China, including with the threat of sanctions for allowance.
As a response to the statements, Chinese officials have argued over the Wuhan lab theory. Zhao Lijian, Foreign Ministry spokesperson of China on Thursday dismissed Biden’s inquiry and called it out as an attempt to engage in “stigmatization, political manipulation, and blame-shifting.”
A World Health Organization report released in March didn’t fully uncover the virus’s origin but called a lab leak unlikely, with more investigation to be done.