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Urging further probe into virus origins, US experts warn of 'COVID-26' and 'COVID-32'

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaEdited By: Bharat SharmaUpdated: May 31, 2021, 05:32 PM IST

Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

Many experts around the world are urging more caution with the theory of the virus originating in a lab, but are still calling for further probe into how it may have come into existence

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created a mammoth crisis for authorities around the world and strained ill-prepared healthcare systems, leading to millions of deaths.

Recently, the origins of the coronavirus which was first spotted in Wuhan in 2019 have been brought into question. Many experts around the world are urging more caution with the theory of the virus originating in a lab, but are still calling for further probe into how it may have come into existence.

Many countries have supported the probe into Covid origins, from Australia to the US. In fact, it was this push by Australia which strained its relationship with China. Now, scientific experts are joining the chorus, warning of more dire viruses if the alleged real origins are not revealed.

Upto this point, it was posited that the virus jumped from animals to humans in classic zoonotic fashion. The animals suspected of bringing the virus include bats and pangolins. It is possible that the virus may have then spread through the wet market in Wuhan. 

On Sunday, two US disease experts urged Chinese government to cooperate with the world if the true origins of Covid are to be ever understood.

Scott Gottlieb, who was a commissioner of the FDA during Trump’s presidency and now a board member of Pfizer Inc, told CBS that information supporting the lab leak theory is now gaining traction. According to Gottlieb, the search for virus origins among wildlife hasn’t yielded results and China has not provided enough evidence to disprove the leak theory.

In conversation with NBC, Peter Hotez, co-director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development went a step further, warning of “COVID-26” and “COVID-32” unless the origins of the virus are ascertained. 

The lab-leak theory, which was long seen as a largely Republican outlook at the virus has gained attention after US President Joe Biden, a Democrat called for a renewed investigation into Covid origins. On Wednesday, Biden said that he has ordered agencies to “redouble their efforts” and to report to him again in 90 days.