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Dr. Fauci again dismisses Wuhan lab as source of coronavirus

Trump accuses Chinese lab of creating virus
Trump accuses Chinese lab of creating virus 01:35

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, again dismissed the idea that a lab in Wuhan, China, was the original source of the coronavirus. In an interview with National Geographic published Monday, Fauci cited scientific evidence that shows the virus was not man-made. 

Fauci, who is on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told the wildlife magazine that COVID-19 likely originated in an animal and then transmitted to humans. He made similar comments last month during a White House briefing. 

"If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what's out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated … Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species," said Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

When asked if there could have been a scenario where scientists found the virus outside the lab, brought it back and then it escaped, Fauci shut the line of questioning down.

"But that means it was in the wild to begin with. That's why I don't get what they're talking about [and] why I don't spend a lot of time going in on this circular argument," he said. 

His remarks come as President Trump has claimed to have seen evidence that the virus began in Wuhan Virology Institute, which conducts research on contagious pathogens. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the weekend said there's a "significant amount of evidence" pointing to Mr. Trump's claim, but did not elaborate. 

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said last week that the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that the coronavirus "was not manmade or genetically modified," but investigations into the origins of the outbreak are ongoing. 

Beijing has denied the lab was the source of the virus.

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