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Former Biden COVID official says Wuhan lab leak may have caused pandemic

The official also warned that the chances of another global pandemic are quite high.

Published: December 10, 2023 3:03pm

Dr. Raj Panjabi, the former top White House national security council pandemic official, said that COVID-19 may have originated in Wuhan, China, as the result of a lab leak.

"It is plausible that Covid originated in a lab accident in Wuhan," Panjabi said last week at the annual Forbes Healthcare Summit, The Daily Mail reported. "We have got to do more to keep labs safe."

He also warned that the world is facing a growing risk of future pandemics. 

"There is a 50 percent risk one will happen in the next 25 years. This is because of globalization, or what I call the three Ps," he said.

The "three Ps" he gave are "pathogen spillover," when diseases leap from animals to humans; "planes," since they encourage global travel; and "poor public health systems that are shattered and lack investment."

The Wuhan Institute of Virology was under scrutiny even before the COVID-19 pandemic since it had not provided information about safety and security as required after having received U.S. government funding. 

The U.S. government has appeared split on whether COVID originated in a lab or naturally. 

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