On Wednesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Cuomo Primetime,” NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said that the theory that COVID-19 might have accidentally leaked from a lab “always seemed sort of a dark and unfortunate idea, but not one you could rule out,” that he’s not “significantly more open” to the idea “than I was last summer when we began to worry about that as a real possibility” because we don’t really know more about the theory than we did a year ago. And that he still thinks natural transmission is the most probable explanation.
Collins stated, “The idea that it might have been an accidental leak from the lab, on the other hand, always seemed sort of a dark and unfortunate idea, but not one you could rule out, and today, we cannot rule that out.”
He added, “I would not say I’m significantly more open than I was last summer when we began to worry about that as a real possibility. But there was so much swirl going on in other areas that that probably didn’t come to attention. I didn’t go to a microphone and announce that. Do I think we’ll ever know the answer? Well, we really need an evidence-based, expert-driven investigation. That’s going to require China to be willing to let investigators look into the lab records, find out what happened in late 2019 in terms of the first cases, including those people who got sick in the lab, and get to the bottom of this. Without that, you know, Chris, we don’t know any more about this theory really than we did a year ago. So for people now to say, oh, well, it’s emerging as a likely explanation, it hasn’t really. It’s going to require more data before anybody can say that. I still think the most likely explanation is, this was a natural transmission from a host bat, maybe something else in between, to humans. But I can’t prove that either. We need to know the answer. We haven’t got the evidence yet to say.”
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