Dr. Anthony Fauci says he is “not convinced” COVID-19 developed naturally, and called for an open investigation into the virus’ origins.
“There’s a lot of cloudiness around the origins of COVID-19 still, so I wanted to ask, are you still confident that it developed naturally?” PolitiFact’s Katie Sanders asked the nation’s top infectious disease expert in an event, United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking event.
“No actually,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said, around 12 minutes into footage of the event, which was held earlier this month but overlooked by most media outlets.
“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.”
“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. 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,” he continued.
“Will you in front of this group categorically say that the COVID-19 virus could not have occurred by serial passage in a laboratory?” Sen. Rand Paul had asked Fauci during a Senate hearing last Tuesday.
Fauci did not explicitly rule out such a possibility: “I do not have any accounting of what the Chinese may have done, and I’m fully in favor of any further investigation of what went on in China,” he said. “However, I will repeat again, the NIH and NIAID categorically has not funded gain of function research to be conducted in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”