U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has called on China to release the medical records of nine people whose ailments might provide vital clues into whether the new coronavirus disease first emerged as the result of a lab leak, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, Reuters reports.
“I would like to see the medical records of the three people who are reported to have got sick in 2019. Did they really get sick, and if so, what did they get sick with?” the report https://on.ft.com/3igFTgU quoted Fauci as saying.
“The same with the miners who got ill years ago . . . What do the medical records of those people say? Was there [a] virus in those people? What was it? It is entirely conceivable that the origins of Sars-Cov-2 was in that cave and either started spreading naturally or went through the lab.”
The records in question concern three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology who reportedly became sick in November 2019, and six miners who fell ill after entering a bat cave in 2012. Scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology subsequently visited the cave to take samples from the bats. Three of the miners died.
The origin of the virus is hotly contested, with U.S. intelligence agencies still examining reports that researchers at a Chinese virology laboratory in Wuhan were seriously ill in 2019 a month before the first new coronavirus disease patients were reported.
However, Chinese scientists and officials have consistently rejected the lab leak hypothesis, saying the virus could have been circulating in other regions before it hit Wuhan and might have even entered China through imported frozen food shipments or wildlife trading.
Financial Times reported that Fauci continues to believe the virus was first transmitted to humans through animals, pointing out that even if the lab researchers did have the disease, they could have become infected from the wider population.