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Redfield warned Fauci not to 'give terrorists recipe' to modify bird flu to kill 5%-50% of infected

NIH-funded scientists published instructions for making such a pathogen cross the "species barrier" to humans, recounted former CDC Director Robert Redfield.

Published: April 14, 2023 11:17pm

Updated: April 15, 2023 10:37am

Former CDC Director Robert Redfield's biggest fear for a future pandemic is a genetically manipulated bird flu, given that NIH-funded scientists in 2012 published instructions for making such a pathogen cross the "species barrier" to humans, a highly unlikely result from viral evolution.

"I didn't think we needed to give terrorists a recipe" for modifying a bird flu to kill 5%-50% of people it infects, Dr. Redfield told "Just the News, No Noise," recalling his argument to then-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci —  his future antagonist on COVID origins and gain-of-function research — against publishing the research. 

"I think it's a miracle that no one's used that yet," Redfield said. "But I do think we're at high risk for laboratory-created bird flu that will have high pathogenicity for man," given the "highly inadequate" biosecurity of dozens of labs handling dangerous pathogens.

The "probability of a spillover event" from a lab "is very, very high," he warned, "and I suspect that in the next decade we will have, unfortunately, a major pandemic as a consequence of either gain-of-function research or bioterrorism."

"And this is why I think we need to really look seriously about not only having a moratorium in our own country, but actually having a global moratorium on gain-of-function research until society can decide: Should it really be done? Is the benefit there? And if they decide the benefit's there, then how do you do it in a safe, responsible and effective way?" 

Redfield is highly critical of officials in both the Trump and Biden administrations for squelching an "honest public debate" on both COVID origins and public health response.

NIH organized a "single narrative" that COVID emerged from a "spillover event," contrary to Redfield's favored lab-leak explanation, and "really tried to sideline anybody that didn't agree with them," he said, claiming to have received "hate mail," including a suicide suggestion from "good scientists in the National Academy" of Science.

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