Washington, June 21: US top coronavirus advisor Dr Anthony Fauci on Friday (local time) said that COVID-19 could be a lab-invented illness as acknowledged by scientists in February 2020.
Fauci said that he was open to the coronavirus lab leak theory all along, saying acknowledged COVID-19 "could possibly be an engineered virus" with the potential of an accidental leak from a lab but maintains that the most likely origin was through zoonotic transmission, reported Fox News.
Amid criticism of an inconclusive international probe into the virus' origins and new reports of Covid-related illness in the region weeks before it was officially identified, the theory is once again sparking debate that the virus leaked from Wuhan lab. US Scientist Dr Andrew Plump on COVID-19, Says 'Lack of Preparedness is Greatest Failure of Our Collective Ecosystem'.
Earlier this month, a report by Wall Street Journal had stated that three researchers from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology sought hospital care after they fell ill in November 2019, a month before Beijing reported the first patient with COVID-like symptoms.
Fauci discussed a conference call that took place on February 1, 2020, just days after the World Health Organization raised the alert level on COVID-19, calling it a public health emergency of international concern, during an interview with USA Today this week.
"I remember it very well," Fauci told USA Today. "We decided on the call the situation really needed to be looked into carefully." The call included several scientists, including Kristian Andersen, an expert in infectious disease at Scripps Research Translational Institute in California. Global COVID-19 Caseload Tops 178.4 Million, Deaths Surge to More Than 3.86 Million: Johns Hopkins University.
In an email to Fauci the day before the call, and reviewed by Fox News, Andersen wrote, "The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome.
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