Former CDC director Dr Robert Redfield says he thinks COVID was ‘taught and educated’ by scientists before leaking from a laboratory to infect the world.
Redfield implied he believed the virus had been modified before leaking from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China because it is not ‘biologically plausible’ that it could have become so infectious had it jumped from an animal host to humans.
In a wide-ranging interview with Fox News contributor Dr Marc Siegel on Tuesday, Redfield doubled down on his belief that COVID-19 was leaked from the Chinese lab after being tweaked by scientists.
The virus is believed to have originated in bats, but debate is currently raging over whether it leaked from the Wuhan lab – and whether it was modified by Chinese scientists to become more contagious beforehand.
Redfield also said Dr Anthony Fauci was ‘holding on tightly’ to the theory that the virus evolved naturally, before likening the White House COVID tsar to a ‘dog with a bone.’
And he slammed the ‘highly compromised’ World Health Organization for not cracking down on China at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and for letting its communist government dictate the terms of the WHO probe into the origins of COVID.
Redfield, who was CDC director under the Trump administration, first revealed back in March that he believes the virus escaped from the Wuhan lab.
Evidence has been mounting that supports the lab leak theory and President Biden has ordered a 90-day intelligence review to investigate the possibility. Donald Trump and his supporters were widely derided for sharing the same theory last year when he was president.
Redfield, who doesn’t believe the virus was intentionally leaked by China, said COVID-19’s ability to spread rapidly from human-to-human was unlike other coronaviruses such as SARS.
Dr Robert Redfield, who was CDC director under the Trump administration, doubled down on his belief COVID leaked from Wuhan lab
He said he didn’t believe it was ‘biologically plausible’ that COVID-19 could have spread from a bat to an unknown animal and then to human.
Redfield pointed to how other coronaviruses spread to humans from animals but that it occurred at a much slower pace than COVID-19.
‘When I said before that I didn’t think it was biologically plausible that COVID-19 went from a bat to some unknown animal into man and now had become one of the most infectious viruses. That’s not consistent with how other coronaviruses have come into the human species,’ Redfield said.
‘It does suggest that there’s an alternative hypothesis that it went from a bat virus, got into a laboratory, where in the laboratory it was taught, educated, it evolved, so that it became a virus that could efficiently transmit human to human.
‘My professional opinion as a virologist… that’s the hypothesis I support.
‘Other individuals, Tony Fauci for example, would prefer to support that it evolved from nature. I think Tony is holding onto this hypotheses tightly. Why would that be? Sometimes scientists bite into a bone on a hypothesis. It’s hard for them to move on.’
Redfield said he was ‘disappointed’ there was a lack of openness within the scientific community early on to investigate both hypotheses.
Redfield, who was CDC director under Trump, said Dr Anthony Fauci was ‘holding on tightly’ to the theory that the virus evolved naturally
Redfield, who doesn’t believe the virus was intentionally leaked by China, said COVID-19’s ability to spread rapidly from human-to-human was unlike other coronaviruses such as SARS
Fauci flip-flops on origins of COVID
April 2020: Fauci repeatedly made public statements suggesting COVID was the result of an ‘unusual human-animal interface’ in a Chinese ‘wet market’ and that ‘the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human.’
May 2020: Still adamant that he didn’t believe COVID was man-made, Fauci told National Geographic: ‘If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated.
‘Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species.’
Late May 2021 to early June 2021: During an event called ‘United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking,’ Fauci was asked if was ‘still confident’ that the virus evolved naturally.
‘No, actually… I am not convinced about that. I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened.
‘Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out.’
‘So, you know, that’s the reason why I said I’m perfectly in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus.’
Some scientists, the media and academics long heaped scorn on the lab leak hypothesis, insisting that it was a fringe conspiracy theory and even racist after Donald Trump embraced the idea.
New evidence, including reports of three workers at the Wuhan lab who fell seriously ill with COVID-like symptoms in November 2019, has forced a sober reassessment among doubters.
Redfield went on to say that it was a ‘critical error’ to treat COVID-19 the same as SARS in January and February last year.
‘By calling it SARS-like, we mounted a public health response that was mirrored off SARS. The problem is, COVID is nothing like SARS,’ Redfield said, adding that response was ‘flawed’.
Redfield acknowledged that he should have pushed harder for the CDC to be allowed into the Wuhan lab when the virus first emerged and said the World Health Organization was compromised by China.
‘I think they were highly compromised. Clearly they were incapable of compelling China to adhere to the treaty agreements they have on global health,’ Redfield said.
According to Siegel, the Fox contributor who interviewed Redfield, the ex-CDC director told him he started suspecting the lab leak in January 2020 but the White House COVID task force was focused on what was happening in the United States.
Redfield’s comments come just weeks after Fauci dismissed revelations he was warned at the start of pandemic that COVID-19 may have been ‘engineered’ after a trove of his emails – 3,200 in total – were made public.
Fauci seemed to play down a mass trove of damaging emails that included warnings from the start of the pandemic that the virus originated in the lab.
He said his emails are ‘ripe to be taken out of context’ but he ‘can’t guarantee everything that is going on in the Wuhan lab’.
The emails were sent between January and June of last year.
They showed leading virus experts had warned him COVID-19 may have been created in a lab while he publicly played such claims down.