A scientist who worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology before the pandemic downplayed the chance that the coronavirus leaked from there.
Danielle Anderson, an Australian virologist, told Bloomberg Sunday that the virus probably emerged from a natural source but wasn’t “naive enough” to entirely dismiss the possibility of a lab accident.
Anderson appeared to respond to a Wall Street Journal report in May that researchers there had fallen seriously ill in late 2019 from COVID-19-like symptoms, according to U.S. intelligence. Anderson, who specializes in bat-borne viruses, arrived at the lab in November 2019.
“If people were sick, I assume that I would have been sick — and I wasn’t,” Anderson told Bloomberg. “I was tested for coronavirus in Singapore before I was vaccinated, and had never had it.”
Anderson later traveled to Singapore with other Wuhan lab officials and recalled no positive cases among them.
“There was no chatter,” Anderson told Bloomberg. “Scientists are gossipy and excited. There was nothing strange from my point of view going on at that point that would make you think something is going on here.”
White House infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said last month the lab-leak theory was unlikely but supported a more thorough investigation. President Joe Biden said he asked U.S. intelligence to “redouble their efforts” to determine the origins of the virus.
Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in May the COVID-19 pandemic “more likely than not” stemmed from a lab leak and was covered up by Chinese officials ― an idea promoted by former President Donald Trump.
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