Anthony Fauci Calls On China To Release Medical Records Of Wuhan Lab Researchers

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks at a press conference.
Gettyimages | Alex Wong
News & Politics

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is calling on China to release the medical records of researchers at a laboratory in the city of Wuhan.

In an interview with the Financial Times that was published Friday, Fauci argued that the records could help the scientific community understand whether the novel coronavirus leaked from a research laboratory or jumped species, transferring from bats to humans.

The disease has devastated the world, killing more than 3.5 million people around the globe. 

Medical Records

In 2012, six miners got sick -- and three of them died -- after entering a bat cave. In 2019, three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology allegedly became sick after visiting the same cave to take samples from bats.

The institute's leading expert Shi Zhengli has repeatedly denied that there were infections at the lab, but Fauci believes the matter should be investigated.

"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?" Fauci asked.

COVID-19 Origins

3D  atomic model of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).
Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coronavirus._SARS-CoV-2.png

Fauci stressed that China should release the medical records of the six miners who fell ill in 2012, noting that COVID-19 could have come from the cave they worked in.

"What do the medical records of those people say? Was there [a] virus in those people? What was it? It is entirely conceivable that the origins of Sars-Cov-2 was in that cave and either started spreading naturally or went through the lab."

It remains unclear whether President Joe Biden's administration will ask China for the medical records.  

Virus Probably Jumped Species, Fauci Says

Though he wants China to release the medical records in question, Fauci told the Financial Times that he is still fairly certain COVID-19 developed naturally, like other viruses.

"I have always felt that the overwhelming likelihood -- given the experience we have had with Sars, Mers, Ebola, HIV, bird flu, the swine flu pandemic of 2009 -- was that the virus jumped species," Fauci said.

"But we need to keep on investigating until a possibility is proven," he noted, dismissing the suggestion that U.S. funding of the Wuhan laboratory contributed to the spread of COVID-19.

Fauci's Emails Draw Scrutiny

Earlier this week, BuzzFeed News released a trove of Fauci's emails that were obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). 

As BBC reported, some of the documents show that Fauci backed Chinese denials of the theory that coronavirus leaked from a research lab, which some see as evidence that he mishandled the crisis.

On Thursday, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer said that Fauci should testify before the U.S. Congress and reveal what he knows about the origins of the novel disease.