WASHINGTON (TND) — On Capitol Hill Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee was hoping to get answers about the future by looking at previous policy decisions on COVID-19, asking what could be done differently in order to prevent another global pandemic.
The decisions in early 2020 to shutter businesses, shut down schools and require vaccines once they were available are all part of the conversation for lawmakers weighing a future response to a future pandemic.
But looming large over that debate is a new one evolving by the day: the origins of the virus. It's now believed by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Energy that the virus most likely came from a lab in Wuhan, China, as detailed in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.
The conclusion was not surprising to Dr. Steven Quay, the CEO and chairman of the Biotech Company Atossa Therapeutics. In June 2021, he testified on the matter before a House panel investigating the origins of COVID-19 and has spent the last three years researching the origins himself.
In an interview with Sinclair, Quay said the idea SARS Cov2 started in nature has no supporting evidence with no host animal ever found. The high human-to-human transmissibility from day one does support a laboratory origin.
“With every natural zoonosis where a virus goes from an animal to a human, it has to practice. Usually, those first jumps are not clinical; people don’t get sick at all," he said
With COVID-19, people became extremely ill and died almost immediately with no evidence the virus existed and mutated previously.
"In Wuhan, China, they tested 36,000 blood samples from Wuhan people in the year 2019. Do you know how many were positive? Zero," said Quay.
While high-level officials within the U.S. government remain divided over the origins, the growing support for the lab leak theory has unleashed growing calls for China to be more transparent on the matter.
In an interview with CNN Tuesday, former White House COVID-19 Response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said the U.S. should stop trying to change China's behavior.
“They weren't telling us how many people were actually succumbing to COVID, we knew it was dramatically higher than the numbers they were providing. That's been going on for three years now," Birx said.
It took a year for China to allow World Health Organization officials in the country for a visit that was tightly controlled. Following the visit, officials concluded that "the laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely."
Plans for a new investigation appear to be put on hold, likely because of China’s unwillingness to help. China’s foreign ministry money is once again denying the lab leak theory and accusing the U.S. of playing politics on the matter.