Few Agree With Redfield on Virus Origin: 'That's Fine'

Ex-director of CDC acknowledges the lab theory isn't backed by evidence
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2021 2:00 PM CDT
Redfield Sticks to Discredited Lab Theory on Virus
Dr. Robert Redfield speaks diuring a news conference in January.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

A former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has circled back to a widely rejected theory about the origins of the coronavirus. Dr. Robert Redfield said he believes the most likely explanation is that the pathogen escaped somehow from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, the New York Times reports. "The other people don’t believe that," Redfield said. "That's fine. Science will eventually figure it out." Redfield made the comments in taping an interview in January for a CNN special airing Sunday night. The lab theory was endorsed by President Trump during his term, when Redfield, a virologist, led the CDC. In his interview, Redfield did not provide evidence for what he said is his opinion. "I do not believe this somehow came from a bat to a human," he said, per CBS—referring to the more widely accepted explanation.

Experts who don't buy the lab theory include Dr. Anthony Fauci, the World Health Organization, and various virologists who pointed out there's no evidence for it. Many were baffled by Redfield's comments. "Speculation isn't constructive, it doesn't help us control the pandemic and only distracts from the urgent work and global cooperation we need," a Columbia University professor of epidemiology said, per USA Today. Another Columbia professor pointed out that "the fact that we haven't seen it before doesn't mean it was created in a laboratory." The former CDC director "shows a complete lack of basic evolutionary virology," said Kristian Andersen, author of a study that attributed the virus to natural evolution. "We know bats carry viruses highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, so it's plausible it came straight from bats," he said. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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