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'Invite WHO to US for Study of Virus Origins': China Replies to Fauci's Lab Leak Emails

Security personnel jump across a barrier at an entrance to the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital where a team from the World Health Organization visited in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Security personnel jump across a barrier at an entrance to the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital where a team from the World Health Organization visited in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

America's infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has called on Beijing to release the medical records of nine people whose ailments might provide vital clues in Covid-19's origin.

The United States should invite the World Health Organisation to their country to study virus origins and explain their more than 200 bio labs all over the world, including the Fort Detrick lab, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said after America’s infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci called on Beijing to release the medical records of nine people whose ailments might provide vital clues in Covid-19’s origin.

“Wuhan Institute of Virology has clarified that they had not contacted the novel coronavirus prior to December 30, 2019. US should invite WHO experts to the US to study virus origins and explain their more than 200 bio labs all over the world including the Fort Detrick lab," Wenbin said.

Dr Fauci and his colleagues took notice, in the early days, of the theory that Covid-19 may have leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. This was revealed in the over 3,000 pages of emails, obtained by the Washington Post, Buzzfeed News and CNN through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, date from January to June 2020.

The claim was dismissed by experts last year, who said it was “extremely unlikely", but recently the debate has picked up again after Fauci’s emails went public, following which he called on China to release the medical records of nine people whose ailments might provide vital clues into whether Covid-19 first emerged as the result of a lab leak.

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“I would like to see the medical records of the three people who are reported to have got sick in 2019. Did they really get sick, and if so, what did they get sick with?" the Financial Times quoted Fauci as saying.

The origin of the virus is hotly contested, with US intelligence agencies still examining reports that researchers at a Chinese virology laboratory in Wuhan were seriously ill in 2019 a month before the first Covid-19 cases were reported.

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first published:June 04, 2021, 14:12 IST