Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield told CNN in an interview that aired Friday he thinks coronavirus originated in a lab in China.
“It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect a laboratory worker,” Redfield said.
There is no hard evidence that the virus escaped from a lab, and Redfield noted that his comments are “my opinion.”
A World Health Organization (WHO) team has called the theory that the virus escaped from a lab “extremely unlikely.”
“The findings suggest that the laboratory incidents hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus to the human population,” Peter Ben Embarek, a WHO expert, said in February.
The WHO team has suggested that the virus passing from a bat through an intermediary animal to humans is the most likely origin, The Associated Press reported.
Redfield said he did not think it makes “biological sense” that the virus would be able to spread so well between humans if it had just made the jump from animals to humans. The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been a focus of the theory that the virus escaped from a lab.
“I do not believe this somehow came from a bat to a human,” Redfield said.
Still, he noted continued uncertainty. “Science will eventually figure it out,” he said.