The "arrogance" seen among the world's scientists — and not only those in China — could be to blame for the risky research possibly behind the worldwide coronavirus pandemic that has killed millions of people worldwide, former Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield said Tuesday.
"I do think that there is a large group of scientists that see this technology at their fingertips and they want to do it," Redfield said in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News medical analyst Dr. Mark Siegel. "There is an arrogance about it that nothing can go wrong. It may be in fact that unfortunately, that's not true anymore. Something did go wrong. Not intentional."
Siegel said there are two main theories about the origins of the coronavirus: the lab-leak version, which he believes, and the natural origin theory, espoused by Dr. Anthony Fauci.
But either way, the world would have benefitted if experts from the CDC had been allowed to enter China and investigate, said Redfield.
"The thing that is very bothersome to me is that the Chinese government didn't accept the opportunity for us to work together and resolve this and develop a plan," said Redfield. "Why are we being excluded? It's very bothersome."
Redfield's comments come as calls to investigate the lab-leak theory, initially downplayed, have grown in recent weeks. He told Siegel that the way COVID-19 spreads quickly between humans is a contradiction of coronaviruses like SARS and MERS that spread at a slower pace.
"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," Redfield said, "That's not consistent with how other coronaviruses have come into the human species. And, 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."
Calls have also grown to investigate the lab theory after reports indicated that three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been hospitalized with COVID-like symptoms in November 2019, before news of the illness started to spread.
The virologist also said he is disappointed in the 'lack of openness" among scientists to pursue both theories.
"I'm just giving my best opinion as a virologist, and I don't think it's plausible that this virus went from a bat to an animal – we still don't know that animal – and then went into humans and immediately had learned how to be human-to-human transmissible to the point of now causing one of the greatest pandemics we've had in the history of the world," Redfield said.
He also said he has doubts about the integrity of the World Health Organization, which said in a joint report with China that a lab leak was "extremely unlikely.
The WHO, Redfield said is "too compromised" by Beijing to have conducted a transparent investigation or to get China to "adhere to the treaty agreements that they have on global health because they didn't do that. Clearly, they allowed China to define the group of scientists that could come and investigate."
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