The former head of the Food and Drug Administration, Scott Gottlieb, has said Dr. Anthony Fauci told world leaders in the spring of 2020 that the coronavirus may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.
U.S. researchers around that time still were considering whether the virus came from a lab break, and Fauci told the health leaders gathered that the newly identified strain of the coronavirus ‘looked unusual,’ according to Gottlieb.
The disclosure from the former FDA chief comes as an increasing number of mainstream scientists and media figures no longer are parroting the line from the Chinese Communist Party that the virus came from a bat.
Even President Joe Biden has ordered government agencies to investigate the possibility that it might have come from a lab.
Now, Gottlieb says Fauci last year at least considered that COVID-19 could have come from a lab – before closing ranks around the idea that it occurred naturally.
Gottlieb, who served under President Donald Trump, said a former senior member of the Trump administration told him at the time of Fauci’s 2020 talk. Gottlieb said he’d recently reconfirmed with that person that Fauci had given the talk.
‘I think early on, when they looked at the strain, they had suspicions,’ Gottlieb recalled Sunday on CBS Face the Nation, speaking of U.S. scientists. ‘And it takes time to do that analysis, and that dispelled some of those suspicions,’ he added.
Meanwhile, Gottlieb said it was a mistake to only look at the virus from a scientific perspective: It also needs to be examined from a national security lens, he said.
Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he was told Dr. Fauci had briefed world leaders on the possibility that the novel coronavirus leaked from a lab
Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb says he was informed by a senior Trump administration official in spring that Dr. Fauci briefed world health leaders in Europe “that this could have been a potential lab leak…so those discussions were going on.” pic.twitter.com/2OlTg8bMof
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) June 6, 2021
U.S. First Lady Jill Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci visited a vaccination clinic at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem
‘A scientific mindset looks at the virus and the virus’ behavior and draws a conclusion,’ he said.
‘A national security assessment looks at that and then looks at the behavior of the Chinese government, the behavior of the lab, other evidence around the lab – including the infections we now know took place – and that changes the overall assessment,’ he said.
Although some experts still believe the virus was transmitted from a bat to some other species of animal, then to humans, its origins remain unproven.
The Wuhan lab was famed for conducting tests on bat coronaviruses, with experts who support the leak theory saying the same city being ground zero for the outbreak is too great a coincidence to ignore.
Fauci is now facing accusations that he mishandled and downplayed the theory the virus leaked from the lab in Wuhan.
While China has tried to insist the virus originated elsewhere, academics, politicians and the media have begun to contemplate the possibility it escaped from the WIV – raising suspicions that Chinese officials simply hid evidence of the early spread
The idea the coronavirus escaped from a Wuhan lab was at best a ‘fringe theory’ until recently, when the Biden administration ordered a review
The Wuhan lab was famed for conducting tests on bat coronaviruses, with experts who support the leak theory saying the same city being ground zero for the outbreak is too great a coincidence to ignore. (file photo from inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology)
Chinese scientist ‘filed a patent for a vaccine BEFORE virus was declared a pandemic’
A Chinese military scientist with ties to the United States reportedly filed a patent for a COVID-19 vaccine well before the disease was declared a global pandemic.
Yusen Zhou, who worked for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), lodged the paperwork on behalf of the Chinese political party on February 24 2020, according to The Australian newspaper.
That date was just five weeks after China first confirmed human transmission of the coronavirus.
Zhou is also said to have ‘worked closely’ with scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), including Shi Zhengli – the deputy director of the lab who is famous for her research on coronavirus in bats.
Zhou mysteriously died less than three months after he filed the patent. The New York Post claims his death was only reported in one Chinese media report, despite the fact he was one of the country’s most prominent scientists.
Zhou had previously worked on research linked to the US institutions, including the University of Minnesota and the New York Blood Center, the newspaper reported.
Last week, a trove of Fauci’s emails were released which span the early days of the pandemic.
In one email, from Feb. 1 of last year, Kristian Andersen, a researcher at the Scripps Research Institute, wrote to Fauci, the longtime director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about ongoing efforts to decipher the origin of the novel coronavirus.
At the time, the lab leak hypothesis was largely dismissed by many experts. It has recently gained traction.
‘The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome (0.1%) so one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered,’ Andersen wrote.
He said he and his colleagues ‘all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory.
But,’ he added, ‘we have to look at this much more closely and there are still further analyses to be done, so those opinions could still change.’
By the next month, it turned out, they had.
He and his colleagues published an article in Nature Medicine in which they concluded that it was ‘improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus.’
In another email, Fauci was thanked by the head of a nonprofit that helped fund research at China´s Wuhan Institute of Virology, ‘for publicly standing up and stating that the scientific evidence supports a natural origin,’ which he said ‘will help dispel the myths being spun around the virus´ origins.’
Andersen, the scientist who wrote the ‘engineered’ email, has tried to offer further explanation.
‘As I have said many times, we seriously considered a lab leak a possibility.
‘However, significant new data, extensive analyses, and many discussions led to the conclusions in our paper. What the email shows, is a clear example of the scientific process,’ he tweeted amid the backlash.
How Fauci flip-flopped on the origins of COVID
April 2020: Fauci repeatedly made public statements suggesting that that COVID was the result of an ‘unusual human-animal interface’ in a Chinese ‘wet market’ and that ‘the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human.’
May 2020: Still adamant that he didn’t believe the coronavirus was man-made. ‘If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated,’ he told National Geographic in an exclusive interview published May 4, 2020. ‘Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species.’
Late May 2021 to early June 2021: During an event called ‘United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking,’ Fauci was asked if was ‘still confident’ that the virus evolved naturally.
‘No, actually … 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,’ Fauci said. ‘Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out.’
He added: ‘So, you know, that’s the reason why I said I’m perfectly in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus.’
‘It´s just science,’ he later added. ‘Boring, I know, but it´s quite a helpful thing to have in times of uncertainty.’
Speaking about the emails on Sunday, Gottlieb said there was nothing that concerned him about their contents.
‘I didn’t think there was anything remarkable in those emails. I don’t think there was anything that Tony said that expressed any ill intent, and nothing that was new,’ Gottlieb replied, explaining that there had always been two theories on the origins of the virus but there had been little real evidence to support either one.
‘We have other information now that fits into this picture. The science is one piece of information, but there is a lot of other information that points in the direction that this could have come out of a lab, that we need to have a broader view about the potential risk that this was a lab leak,’ Gottlieb continued.
Daily Mail has been asking if the virus stemmed from a Wuhan lab since April 2020
The Daily Mail has consistently questioned the early consensus that COVID-19 was transmitted to humans from animals.
Our reporters have dug into the details and challenged the assumptions about how the pandemic originated.
APRIL 4, 2020:
Did coronavirus leak from a research lab in Wuhan? Startling new theory is ‘no longer being discounted’ amid claims staff ‘got infected after being sprayed with blood’
Ministers fear that the coronavirus pandemic might have been caused by a leak from a Chinese laboratory, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Senior Government sources say that while ‘the balance of scientific advice’ is still that the deadly virus was first transmitted to humans from a live animal market in Wuhan, a leak from a laboratory in the Chinese city is ‘no longer being discounted’.
One member of Cobra, the emergency committee led by Boris Johnson, said last night that while the latest intelligence did not dispute the virus was ‘zoonotic’ – originating in animals – it did not rule out that the virus first spread to humans after leaking from a Wuhan laboratory.
APRIL 15, 2020:
Mike Pompeo demands truth from Beijing as US investigates if COVID-19 escaped from Wuhan lab during experiments and China covered it up by blaming ‘wet’ food markets
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has demanded that China ‘come clean’ following reports that coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory, not as a bioweapon, but as part of bungling experiments to prove that Chinese scientists were superior to Americans in identifying emerging virus threats.
It comes after President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the U.S. is trying to determine whether the coronavirus first crossed to humans accidentally during experiments with bats at the Wuhan Institute of Virology Lab.
After word of the outbreak finally became public, Chinese leaders were quick to blame Wuhan’s ‘wet market’ where wild animals — though not bats — are sold for consumption, leading one source to tell Fox News the debacle is the ‘costliest government coverup of all time.’
MAY 2, 2020:
Wuhan virus lab ‘cover-up’: Startling photos of scientists wearing little protection as they handle deadly bat samples vanish from website of Chinese institute at the centre of global suspicion over pandemic
Pictures which appear to show slack safety standards at the Chinese laboratory at the centre of international suspicion over Covid-19 have been systematically deleted from its website – as Donald Trump continues to ramp up the pressure on Beijing over its potential role in the outbreak.
During the past month, Wuhan’s Institute of Virology has removed photographs of scientists working in its laboratories and edited out references to visits by US diplomats who subsequently raised the alarm about the laboratory’s work on bats.
US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he had seen intelligence that gave him a ‘high degree of confidence’ that the global crisis had its origins in the institute – a month after The Mail on Sunday first revealed that British Cabinet Ministers had received classified briefings raising the possibility of a leak from the institute.
Downing Street did not take issue with President Trump’s remarks. ‘There are clearly questions that need to be answered about the origin and spread of the virus,’ a spokesman for Boris Johnson said.
MAY 30, 2020:
Beijing now admits that coronavirus DIDN’T start in Wuhan’s market… so where DID it come from
China has become used to public confessions on television. But this time the words came from one of the nation’s top officials and had seismic global implications.
‘At first, we assumed the seafood market might have the virus, but now the market is more like a victim,’ said Gao Fu, director of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gao’s initial analysis had made sense after previous outbreaks of zoonotic viruses (diseases that jump from animals to humans). Yet suspicion grew over the Chinese government’s failure to share data from animals sampled in the market following its early cover-ups.
JANUARY 2, 2021:
China lab leak is the ‘most credible’ source of the coronavirus outbreak, says top US government official, amid bombshell claims Wuhan scientist has turned whistleblower
One of America’s most senior government officials says the most ‘credible’ theory about the origin of coronavirus is that it escaped from a laboratory in China.
Matthew Pottinger, who is President Donald Trump’s respected Deputy National Security Adviser, told politicians from around the world that even China’s leaders now openly admit their previous claims that the virus originated in a Wuhan market are false.
Mr Pottinger said that the latest intelligence points to the virus leaking from the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology, 11 miles from the market, saying: ‘There is a growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source of the virus.’
JANUARY 9, 2021:
New cover-up fears as Chinese officials delete critical data about the Wuhan lab with details of 300 studies vanishing – including all those carried out by virologist dubbed Batwoman
The Chinese government is facing fresh accusations of a cover-up after officials deleted crucial online data about the laboratory suspected of being the source of Covid-19.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that hundreds of pages of information relating to studies carried out by the top-secret Wuhan Institute of Virology have been wiped.
Details of more than 300 studies, including many investigating diseases that pass from animals to humans, published online by the state-run National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) are no longer available.
APRIL 24, 2021:
Worrying new clues about the origins of Covid: How scientists at Wuhan lab helped Chinese army in secret project to find animal viruses
Scientists studying bat diseases at China’s maximum-security laboratory in Wuhan were engaged in a massive project to investigate animal viruses alongside leading military officials – despite their denials of any such links.
Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal that a nationwide scheme, directed by a leading state body, was launched nine years ago to discover new viruses and detect the ‘dark matter’ of biology involved in spreading diseases.