Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield told Fox News host Martha MacCallum that he was “sidelined” and “threatened” for taking the lab leak theory seriously when the pandemic began.
In January of 2020, the dominant theories about the origin of the novel coronavirus were that it either jumped species or leaked from a laboratory. Redfield said that there has been mounting evidence to support the theory that SARS-CoV-2 came from a lab.
“I think what you have seen over the last 18 months is no new evidence to suggest that this evolved from nature. Haven’t seen any evidence of it being associated with any of the animal species they’ve tested, over 80,000 animals,” he explained. “But we have seen growing evidence to support that this in fact was a consequence of a laboratory leak. So I continue to believe of the two hypotheses that the laboratory leak is the most likely origin of this virus.”
Redfield, who was one of the first scientists to say that the pandemic likely originated in a lab, said it is “in a way tragic” to say that the pandemic was caused by science and not nature. (RELATED: Washington Post Edits 15-Month-Old Headline That Claimed COVID-19 Lab Leak Theory Was ‘Already Debunked’)
“And I think I’m very disheartened when I have seen how the scientific community failed to approach both hypotheses with an open mind,” the former CDC director said. “I mean I was very rapidly sidelined, threatened and really sort of outed because I believed as a virologist that this virus may have come from the laboratory.”
Redfield also told Vanity Fair in June that he received death threats from fellow scientists over his support for the lab leak theory. He expressed disappointment that both sides of the argument were not approached with the same merit during early 2020.
“The scientific community in bulk said the only acceptable answer back in February was that it was a natural event from a natural evolution,” he added. “And I think that’s what’s sad because science should have taken both hypotheses seriously and looked at it scientifically.”