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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified virtually before a Senate panel on Thursday about the disease just one day after announcing that he had contracted COVID-19.
When Fauci was asked if there was any progress in understanding the origin of COVID-19, he said that researchers had concluded that it “very, very likely” had its genesis in an animal species.
Additionally, Fauci stated that the disease “almost certainly” spread to humans in the Wuhan region of China.
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“There have been a number of papers that have come out from highly-skilled virologists and viral phylogeneticists indicating that it is very, very likely that this is a species that jumps from an animal host, perhaps via an intermediate host, to a human species. which then spread throughout the world. The human population certainly, almost certainly originated from China in Wuhan.”
Fauci acknowledged the prominent theory among the American public that the virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology through a leak.
“We’re still open and we always keep an open mind about whether this had to do with a virus that was isolated in the environment and got into a lab and then had what most people call a ‘lab leak.'” , said. continued.
While Fauci said the researchers would keep an “open mind,” he also argued that most of the evidence supported a natural occurrence.
Asked if China would cooperate with investigations into the origin of COVID-19, Fauci deflected and tempered expectations of meaningful answers.
“I certainly hope so, because we are not going to get a definitive answer. I mean, even if they cooperate, we may not,” he told the Senate panel.
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He went on to say that whether or not the Chinese government cooperates, the United States must not treat them hostilely or risk losing their cooperation in future matters.
He concluded: “But certainly, for example, if we want to continue to monitor populations of bats and other wildlife that could serve as intermediate hosts, as well as understand what was going on in some of their labs, I think that’s essential.” have cooperation and collaboration with the Chinese.