Former CDC director Redfield cites COVID'S rapid spread as one reason he thinks virus started in lab

Redfield argued COVID's transmission between humans isn't "consistent" with natural coronaviruses.
Robert Redfield
Robert Redfield
(Tasos Katopodis/Getty)

Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield is explaining why he believes COVID-19 most likely originated from a lab – arguing the unlikelihood of it jumping from a bat to an unknown animal to man and its quick spread.

Redfield discussed his opinions on the origin of the virus in an interview for Fox News over the weekend with Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News contributor.

"I said before that I didn't think it was biologically plausible that COVID-19 went from a bat to some unknown animal into man and now had become one of the most infectious viruses," Redfield said. "There's an alternative hypothesis that it went from a bat virus, got into a laboratory, where in the laboratory, it was taught, educated, it evolved, so that it became a virus that could efficiently transmit human to human."

Redfield's comments come as many scientists and world leaders re-evaluate the so-called lab leak theory, which was widely discredited as a conspiracy theory at the beginning of the pandemic. The theory posits the virus came from a lab in Wuhan, China, not from a bat at a nearby exotic food market.

He argued that the way the virus spread to and between humans and its infectivity is not "consistent with how other coronaviruses have come into the human species," citing SARS and MERS, which spread at a lower rate.

"I'm just giving my best opinion as a virologist," the former CDC director said. He also said the scientific community should fully and openly investigate both theories on the origins of the virus.