President Joe Biden has ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the origins of COVID-19 as new questions are being raised over whether an accidental leak from a Chinese virology lab is to blame for the pandemic. The Wall Street Journal reports three employees of the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill with COVID-like symptoms in the autumn of 2019 and were hospitalized in November of that year, before the first recorded case of COVID-19. China has criticized the Biden administration’s call for a new probe, saying the lab leak hypothesis is a “conspiracy created by U.S. intelligence agencies.” In March, the World Health Organization said its investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic found it was “extremely unlikely” that the novel coronavirus emerged from a laboratory, but many scientists are calling on the WHO to further investigate the possibility. We speak with infectious disease expert Dr. Monica Gandhi, who says there are real questions about whether information about the virus was withheld early on, delaying public health measures and vaccine development, but she stresses that “designing” a virus in a lab is very difficult. “I personally do not think that you can create these type of viruses in a lab. Only nature can do this,” Dr. Gandhi says. She also discusses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s loosening of public health restrictions and how the U.S. can use its vaccine surplus to help other countries. “The solution of the pandemic is immunity. And the only way to get to immunity is to vaccinate the world,” she says.
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