Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Robert Redfield said he was “threatened” for expressing his belief that the novel coronavirus leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
“I think what you have seen over the last 18 months is no new evidence to suggest that this evolved from nature,” Redfield told Fox News on Monday. “But we have seen growing evidence to support that this in fact was a consequence of a laboratory leak. So I continue to believe of the two hypotheses that the laboratory leak is the most likely origin of this virus.”
Redfield added, “I think I’m very disheartened when I have seen how the scientific community failed to approach both hypotheses with an open mind….I mean I was very rapidly sidelined, threatened and really sort of outed because I believed as a virologist that this virus may have come from the laboratory.”
Redfield received death threats from other scientists in March 2021 after he told CNN that he believed the coronavirus leaked from a lab, Vanity Fair reported in June.
“If I was to guess, this virus started transmitting somewhere in September, October in Wuhan,” Redfield told CNN at the time, noting that that was his “opinion.” Redfield added that he was “of the point of view that I still think the most likely aetiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, escaped.”
While initially dismissed as conspiracy theory by some media outlets, the lab-leak hypothesis has gained more widespread acceptance over the past several months. A bipartisan majority of Americans said they believe the coronavirus leaked from a lab, in a Harvard-Politico poll released in July.