Dr. Anthony Fauci believes that releasing the medical records of three Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) scientists who were reportedly hospitalized in November 2019 could clear up the origins of COVID-19.
“Did they really get sick, and if so, what did they get sick with?” he said during a Thursday interview with the Financial Times. The researchers were hospitalized around the time COVID-19 is believed to have begun circulating in China, according to a U.S. intelligence report obtained by The Wall Street Journal in May. A fact sheet released by the State Department on Jan. 16 alleged that “several researchers inside the WIV became sick in fall 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak. The symptoms were reportedly consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses.”
“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,” Fauci added.
Fauci referenced a 2012 incident, in which six miners in Mojiang County in southern Yunnan Province fell ill after clearing a mineshaft of bats and their guano. Three miners passed away. The closest-related viral strain to SARS-COV-2 known to scientists is RaTG13, which scientists determined sickened the miners. WIV scientist Dr. Shi Zhengli researched RaTG13 at the lab following the mining incident, she told Science Magazine. Mojiang County is more than 1,100 miles away from Wuhan. (RELATED: US Researcher With Chinese Ties Admits He Convinced WHO Team That Missing Wuhan Lab Data Was Irrelevant)
Fauci continued to downplay the likelihood of the lab-leak theory, however. “I have always felt that the overwhelming likelihood, given the experience we have had with SARS, MERS, Ebola, HIV, bird flu, the swine flu pandemic of 2009, was that the virus jumped species,” he said.
Nine people in China fell ill with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), following a lab leak incident in 2004. One person died.