Biden's ex-aide agrees Wuhan lab leak as cause behind COVID-19 pandemic - Hindustan Times
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Biden's ex-aide agrees Wuhan lab leak as cause behind COVID-19 pandemic

Dec 10, 2023 12:21 PM IST

COVID-19's origins: Former Biden advisor Dr. Raj Panjabi acknowledges the plausibility of a lab leak in Wuhan.

At a recent health conference in New York City former Special Assistant to President Joe Biden, Dr. Raj Panjabi, acknowledged the possibility of the pandemic originating from a laboratory leak in Wuhan.

Former White House aide Dr. Raj Panjabi speaks out, indicating lab leak as probable source of Covid-19 pandemic(X/Raj Panjabi)
Former White House aide Dr. Raj Panjabi speaks out, indicating lab leak as probable source of Covid-19 pandemic(X/Raj Panjabi)

Describing the lab leak theory as “plausible,” Dr. Panjabi urged governments worldwide to “do more to ensure the safety of laboratories.”

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President Biden himself had criticized former President Donald Trump in May 2020, labeling Trump’s suggestion that COVID-19 emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan as “nakedly xenophobic.” However, recent assessments by the FBI, the Department of Energy, and various scientists and officials within the U.S. government have lent support to the lab leak hypothesis as the most probable cause of the pandemic.

The official stance from the White House remains that the origins of Covid-19 are still uncertain. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has reiterated that there is “no definitive answer” to the question of how the pandemic began.

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‘Covid originated in a lab accident in Wuhan’

Dr. Panjabi’s remarks indicate a departure from this official line, as he stated, “It is plausible that Covid originated in a lab accident in Wuhan…we have got to do more to keep labs safe.”

The former Special Assistant to Biden also issued a stark warning about the likelihood of future pandemics. He predicted a 50/50 chance of another pandemic occurring by 2050, attributing the increasing risk to factors such as globalization, which he refers to as the “three Ps”: Pathogen spillover, planes (global travel), and poor public health systems that are underfunded and fragile.

During his tenure with the Biden administration from 2021 to late 2023, Dr. Panjabi played a pivotal role in addressing two major public health crises: the Covid-19 pandemic and the monkeypox outbreak that began in the spring of 2022. He was instrumental in leading the White House strategy to boost Covid vaccine uptake both domestically and internationally, resulting in the distribution of 1.1 billion vaccine doses to developing countries.

The issue of safety practices in scientific laboratories is now receiving heightened attention from U.S. government officials, with the aim of preventing future pandemics.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is currently conducting hearings on the matter, and Congress is contemplating stricter regulations for laboratories.

In September, Republicans intensified their investigation into the origins of Covid-19, demanding compliance from the Biden administration and other politicians with their inquiries. Failure to comply could result in subpoenas.

Dr. Anthony Fauci agreed to testify before Congress

A letter sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, which was first revealed by DailyMail.com, expressed the Republicans’ expectation for “full and timely compliance” with their requests, which have been pending since the probe’s initiation in February.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, a notable face during the pandemic, has agreed to testify before Congress regarding his role in the alleged public cover-up of the pandemic’s origins. Fauci will be questioned about his department’s funding of research in Wuhan and the discrepancies between his public and private statements concerning the lab leak theory. His testimony, scheduled for January, will be his first under oath since the contentious Senate hearing in July 2021.

The lab leak theory was initially dismissed as a conspiracy by influential figures, including Dr. Fauci. However, Dr. Panjabi’s recent endorsement adds to the growing list of high-ranking officials who support the theory, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former top health official Dr. Robert Kadlec, and former National Security Director John Ratcliffe.

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