A World Health Organization (WHO) adviser said there needs to be a “full and credible investigation” on the origins of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that causes COVID-19 and whether it originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, in late 2019.
Atlantic Council senior fellow Jamie Metzl, who is also a WHO adviser, said the CCP appears to be pushing a narrative that the virus started as a zoonotic virus that spread to humans rather than a leak from a top-security virology lab in Wuhan.
A leaked draft of the report from the Chinese regime and WHO said it is “extremely unlikely” the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as reported by The Associated Press. The conclusions were panned by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, accusing the CCP of further trying to engage in a coverup.
“People feel this must be a World Health Organization investigation. It’s not. It’s not an investigation and the World Health Organization isn’t doing it,” Metzl said in elaborating on the report. “It’s an independent committee with their Chinese government counterparts. So anything that they come out with is going to be a compromise, a consensus between this committee and the Chinese government.”
Metzl said that it’s “possible that COVID-19 began through a zoonotic jump through animal hosts,” as the draft report suggests, but it “also could very well be possible that it comes from an accidental lab leak.”
“There’s a lot of evidence that suggests … that that is a very, very real possibility,” he told Fox News, “that the virus comes from horseshoe bats that are more than a thousand miles away from Wuhan, but what Wuhan has is China’s only level four virology institute, the world’s largest collection of bat coronaviruses, that was doing dangerous gain-of-function research with a spotty security record and we have this massive Chinese cover-up that came afterwards.
Metzl then called for a full, credible investigation that looks into all the theories about the origin of the virus.
The AP reported that the WHO-China study’s findings “offer little new insight into how the virus began to spread around the globe and many questions remain unanswered, though that was as expected,” and it was inconclusive on whether the outbreak started at a Wuhan seafood market. The report is based largely on a visit by a WHO team in Wuhan in January and February, which critics said was overseen and guided by CCP officials.
According to a report from The Associated Press several months ago, the CCP has controlled scientific research connected to the virus outbreak and barred researchers from talking to news outlets. And, the agency noted, state-run media outlets essentially ran disinformation campaigns about the origins of the virus.
“The clampdown comes from the top,” the AP article said at the time, referring to bosses in the ruling communist party.
“There’s so much speculation around the origins of this virus,” Jonna Mazet, a founding executive director of the UC Davis One Health Institute, said of the lack of cooperation on behalf of the CCP, noting that American scientists were not able to conduct investigations inside China. “We need to step back…and let scientists get the real answer without the finger-pointing.”
Lending credibility to the lab theory, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) head Dr. Robert Redfield recently said he believes the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology earlier than the official timeline in September or October of 2019.
“It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect a laboratory worker,” Redfield said in an interview with CNN last week, noting that he has been a virologist for decades and that it’s just his opinion.
“Normally, when a pathogen goes from a zoonot to human,” he added, “it takes a while for it to figure out how to become more and more efficient in human-to-human transmission.”
“I’m of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathology in Wuhan was from a laboratory—you know, escaped,” Redfield elaborated. “Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out.”