NEWS & ANALYSIS

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health: Lab Accident is Most Likely Origin of COVID-19


Dr. Brett Giroir, a 4-star Admiral who served as U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health during the initial phase of the coronavirus outbreak, testified on Tuesday that the “most likely” origin for the pandemic was a Wuhan lab leak.

House Republicans on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis heard from scientists regarding the origins of COVID-19 during a forum on Capitol Hill. Dr. Giroir and the other experts spoke about the need for government transparency and a full investigation into the Wuhan lab leak theory. Several Republican lawmakers, not on the special subcommittee, also voiced support for such a review.

“There is now an increasing body of circumstantial evidence pointing to a lab leak origin of the virus,” Giroir said. “The bottom line is: I believe it’s just too much of a coincidence that a worldwide pandemic caused by a novel bat coronavirus that cannot be found in nature started just a few miles away from a secretive laboratory doing potentially dangerous research on bat coronaviruses. Sometimes, the most obvious explanation is indeed the correct one.” 

As reported by the Washington Examiner, a State Department fact sheet released in January contended Wuhan lab researchers “conducted experiments involving the bat coronavirus identified by Wuhan virologists in January 2020 as its closest sample to COVID-19.” The fact sheet also said that the lab “engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military.” 

Lab workers became sick with coronavirus-like symptoms in 2019. 

“It is essential that Congress provides leadership for a comprehensive, transparent, and unbiased investigation to determine the most likely origin of the virus, whether the NIH funded, directly or indirectly, or approved of, explicitly or tacitly, potentially dangerous research within the Wuhan lab, and what the U.S. can do to minimize the possibility of future pandemics and enable rapid global containment of any suspicious infectious outbreak,” Giroir continued.