WHO chief says it's too early to rule out COVID-19 lab leak theory
The head of the World Health Organization said Thursday that it was too early to rule out a potential connection between the coronavirus pandemic and a laboratory leak, AP reports.
Driving the news: WHO is “asking actually China to be transparent, open and cooperate, especially on the information, raw data that we asked for at the early days of the pandemic," Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, per AP.
- Tedros said there was a "premature push" to rule out the theory that the virus might have originated from a Chinese government lab in Wuhan.
The big picture: The theory that COVID-19 started in a lab has gained traction in recent months, especially following President Biden's move in May to order the intelligence community to investigate the origins of the virus.
- More than halfway into Biden's 90-day push to determine the cause of the virus, the intelligence community remains divided over whether the virus leaked from a Wuhan lab or emerged naturally, CNN reports.
- Some senior Biden administration officials overseeing the intelligence review now say that the theory that the virus accidentally escaped from a lab in Wuhan is at least as credible as the possibility that it emerged naturally in the wild, per CNN.
- China has dismissed attempts to link the origins of the virus to the lab in Wuhan saying attempts are politically motivated.
What they're saying: “I was a lab technician myself, I’m an immunologist, and I have worked in the lab, and lab accidents happen,” Tedros said. “It’s common.”
- "We need information, direct information on what the situation of this lab was before and at the start of the pandemic."
- "If we get full information, we can exclude (the lab connection)," Tedros said.
Go deeper: The COVID lab-leak theory goes mainstream