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A leading scientist said the world needs to understand the origins of COVID-19 to prevent another coronavirus pandemic, adding to a growing number of calls to investigate the laboratory leak theory

The P4 laboratory of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, central Hubei province, China, April 17, 2020. HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP via Getty Images

  • A growing number of experts are calling for further investigation into the origin of COVID-19.

  • New reports undermine the theory that the virus was transmitted from animals to humans.

  • A scientist said understanding the origin is key to preventing future coronavirus outbreaks.

  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

A prominent scientist said understanding the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic is essential for the good of future public health.

“There will be covid-26 and covid-32 unless we fully understand the origins of covid-19,” said Peter Hotez, professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor University and a leading expert on Sunday. virus. NBC News’ Meet The Press.

Hotez’s call for a full investigation into the origin of the pandemic is the latest among experts and politicians to understand whether the coronavirus originated from a Wuhan laboratory.

Dr Anthony Fauci also said he was no longer completely convinced that the coronavirus was of natural origin.

Since March of this year, several reports have prompted experts to call for a further investigation into the origins of the virus.

Former Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield told CNN in March he still believed the coronavirus had escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The following month, a team from the World Health Organization spent a month in Wuhan to investigate the origin of the coronavirus and said a lab leak was “extremely unlikely.” However, the WHO said it could not access the Chinese lab and had not received any raw data.

This month, the Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers in the lab fell ill and went to hospital with symptoms of COVID-19 in November 2019, a month before China said it discovers his first case.

Last week, President Joe Biden revealed that he asked the intelligence community to create a report on the origins of the virus in March. In light of the new reports, Biden asked investigators to “redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion, and report to me in 90 days.”

Hotez, however, said he didn’t think an investigation by the intelligence community would be very helpful.

“I am personally of the opinion that we have taken intelligence as far as possible. What we need to do is we need to investigate the epidemic. Hubei Province for a period of six to six months , one year and completely unravel the origins of COVID-19, ”he said.

China has repeatedly denied claims that the virus came from its laboratory and refused to cooperate with investigations.

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