WORLD / CROSS-BORDERS
Swiss Epidemiologist Says No Evidence of COVID-19 Laboratory Leak
Published: Aug 01, 2021 11:19 PM
In this March 19, 2020, file photo laboratory scientist Andrea Luquette cultures coronavirus to prepare for testing at U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md., where scientists are working to help develop solutions to prevent, detect and treat the coronavirus. Photo: AP

 Photo: AP


There is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic, could be a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan, and such accusations against Beijing are political in nature, Didier Pittet, lead infectious diseases expert at Geneva University Hospitals and inventor of the hand sanitizer, told Sputnik in an interview.

"We really have no evidence that this or any other virus were created in a laboratory. The topic has been discussed a lot. Especially since it happened in China. But people often forget that the first destructive bacteria to escape from a laboratory did so in the US," he said, noting that though it is theoretically possible even in high-security facilities, there is no reason to assume it happened with COVID-19.

According to the expert, the question of whether there could be a leak of a dangerous virus from the laboratory in Wuhan due to incompetence or insufficient level of security "is more political in nature."

In March, the WHO issued the first report of its fact-finding mission to China, which came to the conclusion that the possibility of the virus having leaked from a state laboratory in Wuhan was very low. The experts said that there was a high possibility that the virus was transmitted to humans from bats through another animal.

However, in May, US President Joe Biden ordered the US intelligence community to reexamine the origins of the coronavirus and determine whether the disease leaked from a lab or spread from an infected animal to a human.
China has denied claims of a lab leak and urged the US and its allies to stop politicizing the issue. Beijing has also affirmed its commitment to finding the truth behind the origins of the virus with global partners based on a scientific approach.
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