Dr. Deborah Birx, who coordinated the Trump administration's coronavirus response, pointed toward COVID-19 leaking from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is known for working on viruses similar to COVID-19.
Birx, an infectious disease expert, told The Mail on Sunday that when COVID-19 emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2020, it "came out of the box ready to infect."
The former adviser added that most viruses take months or even years to reach such an high level of infectiousness to humans. COVID-19 "was already more infectious than flu when it first arrived," she noted. That means COVID-19 either was an "abnormal thing of nature" or Chinese scientists were "working on coronavirus vaccines" and became infected.
"It happens. Labs aren't perfect; people aren't perfect. We make mistakes and there can be contamination," Birx said.
In early 2018, science diplomats with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing made multiple visits to the lab. The officials became concerned over the safety of the laboratory conditions and sent two "sensitive but unclassified" cables back to Washington, requesting assistance to help bolster safety protocols.
After the outbreak, Birx accused China of covering up the disease's infectiousness, adding that such infectiousness was consistent with a virus that had been experimented on in a lab.
"In laboratories," she said, "you grow the virus in human cells, allowing it to adapt more. Each time it passes through human cells it becomes more adapted."
The infectious disease expert noted the virus could have easily jumped to a person at the lab. This person could have presented as asymptomatic and would have shown no signs of initial infection. That person then could have walked out of the lab, spreading the virus.
According to Moderna's CEO, the notion of COVID-19 leaking from the lab in Wuhan, which is 13 miles away by road from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, the first theory of where the outbreak occurred, remains a "possibility."
Birx also said lives could've been saved had China admitted the virus could spread asymptomatically when it was first discovered.
"China was implying that they were containing it, but asymptomatic spread cannot be contained without testing," she stated.
"I think the world lost several months of preparation because we were thinking there wasn't that level of human-to-human spread when there clearly was."
On May 11, 2021, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading public health expert on infectious diseases, seemingly accepted the notion of COVID-19 escaping from a lab and touted an investigation should follow.
When asked if COVID-19 occurred naturally, Fauci dropped what seemed like a bombshell, stating, "I am not convinced about that. I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened."
But Fauci's statement may have come at a time when he knew that all records of COVID-19 were destroyed.
A month later, on June 21, 2021, evolutionary biologist Jesse D. Bloom sent to Fauci a draft of an unpublished scientific paper he'd written. He noted that SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences from China had vanished without a trace. Bloom established that the National Institute of Health (NIH) itself had deleted the sequences from its own archive at the request of researchers in Wuhan.
And according to Vanity Fair, "In September 2019, three months before the officially recognized start of the pandemic, the Wuhan Institute of Virology took down its [own] database of some 22,000 virus samples and sequences, refusing to restore it despite international requests."
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