'There's going to be Covid-26 and Covid-32 unless...': Experts warn
The world will face more coronavirus-like catastrophes if the origin of the virus isn’t traced, two top US disease experts have said, adding that cooperation of the Chinese government in this regard is the need of the hour.
“There’s going to be Covid-26 and Covid-32 unless we fully understand the origins of Covid-19,” Peter Hotez, co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, told an American channel recently.
“I emphasized the importance of conducting epidemiology and virology studies in Hubei Province to understand the true origins of COVID19. This could be an international team working 6 months-1 year in the field and laboratory,” Hotez wrote on Twitter.
He further stressed there is way to convince the Chinese authorities to allow scientists to gather intelligence on what happened at the lab in th efall of 2019. "We need scientists not spies," he said.
There is more information to support the theory that SARS-CoV-2 virus may have escaped from a lab in China’s Wuhan province, said Scott Gottlieb, a commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration in the Trump administration who now sits on the board of Pfizer Inc.
Exploring the possibility of the virus from a lab is necessary as "we could focus more international attention on trying to get better inventories around these labs, what they're doing, better security, make sure they're properly built,” Gottlieb said.
“We have done an exhaustive search for the so-called intermediate host, the animal that could have been a host to this virus before it spread to humans. We have not found such an animal.” Gottlieb said.
“China hasn’t provided evidence to disprove that theory, while the search for signs that the virus emerged from wildlife hasn’t yielded results,” Gottlieb said on an American TV channel.
The Joe Biden administration had last week sought deeper investigation into the origins of virus.
Debate over the virus’s origin was fuelled by a Wall Street Journal report on May 23 that three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care for “symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness.”
China has continued to dismiss the Wuhan lab theory. Its foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian dismissed Biden’s inquiry as an attempt to engage in “stigmatisation, political manipulation and blame-shifting.”