Redfield says he thinks virus 'evolved' in lab to transmit better

Redfield says he thinks virus 'evolved' in lab to transmit better
© AP/Pool

Robert RedfieldRobert RedfieldRedfield says he thinks virus 'evolved' in lab to transmit better Ex-CDC director Redfield says he received death threats from fellow scientists over COVID-19 theory Fauci may have unwittingly made himself a key witness for Trump in 'China Flu' hate-speech case MORE, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the Trump administration, said he thinks the novel coronavirus "evolved" in a lab to be more transmissible from human to human.

Redfield pointed to the level of transmissibility between humans of the virus in an interview with Fox News that was published Tuesday.

Redfield said the ease of the virus's spread between humans "does suggest that there's an alternative hypothesis that it went from a bat virus, got into a laboratory, where, in the laboratory, it was taught, educated, it evolved, so that it became a virus that could efficiently transmit human to human."

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There is no definitive evidence so far as to whether the virus originated from a lab leak or from fully natural origins, though the lab leak theory has recently received increased credibility. President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense: Senate panel adds B to Biden's defense budget | House passes bill to streamline visa process for Afghans who helped US | Pentagon confirms 7 Colombians arrested in Haiti leader's killing had US training On The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks MORE at the end of May tasked the intelligence community with reexamining the origins of the virus and reporting back in 90 days.

Redfield, who said he believes the World Health Organization is "too compromised" by China to conduct an accurate investigation, acknowledged that his view of the virus origins was an "opinion."

"I'm just giving my best opinion as a virologist, and I don't think it's plausible that this virus went from a bat to an animal — we still don't know what animal — and then went into humans and immediately had learned how to be human-to-human transmissible to the point of now causing one of the greatest pandemics we've had in the history of the world," he said.

Other experts, including Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Writer: Fauci, Paul clash shouldn't distract from probe into COVID-19 origins S.E. Cupp: 'The politicization of science and health safety has inarguably cost lives' MORE, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, say the lab leak theory is not impossible but that fully natural origins are more likely.

"I feel this way. I haven't changed. Most of the scientists I know feel that way, that the most likely origin is a natural origin from an animal reservoir to human. However, we have not ruled out the possibility that there could have been a leak from the lab," Fauci said last week on MSNBC.