September 30, 2023

(NewsNation) — A particular panel fashioned by Home Republicans investigating the origins of the coronavirus met once more Tuesday to sort out the query: The place did the virus that’s killed almost 7 million folks worldwide come from?

That query was additionally being requested years in the past by Jamie Metzl, one of many first individuals who urged the virus might need been the results of an unintentional lab leak.

Metzl, who served on a World Well being Group advisory committee, agreed with congressional testimony, saying Tuesday on “Elizabeth Vargas Experiences” there’s a “mountain of circumstantial proof” that factors to a lab leak.

“Every little thing, at the least in my estimation, is leaning in the direction of the lab accident,” Metzl stated.

The U.S. intelligence neighborhood stays divided on the origin, whereas prime U.S. well being officers, together with Dr. Anthony Fauci, preserve a pure transmission remains to be the likeliest rationalization.

Fauci informed NewsNation earlier this month that whereas “accumulating proof” factors to a pure origin, everybody should preserve an open thoughts due to China’s unwillingness to supply extra info.

“We could not ever get (definitive proof), and that’s one of many irritating issues,” Fauci stated.

Witnesses at Tuesday’s listening to included former Director of Nationwide Intelligence John Ratcliffe, who stated, “a lab leak is the one rationalization credibly supported by our intelligence, our science and our widespread sense.”

The listening to centered on China’s effort to dam entry to and knowledge on what was being researched at a laboratory in Wuhan, the place a big outbreak of COVID-19 started in 2019. Additionally in Wuhan is a seafood market the place researchers counsel the virus might need first unfold.

Fauci’s feedback got here on the heels of a brand new research printed this month that exhibits massive quantities of the virus have been combined in with genetic materials from racoon canines at an outside moist market in Wuhan.

The analysis centered on swabs taken in Wuhan within the early days of the pandemic. Chinese language researchers confirmed DNA from raccoon canines and different animals was present in COVID-19 samples, particularly from one nook of the moist market the place unique wildlife was bought.

The primary model of the research was printed in 2022 and didn’t point out discovering any genetic materials from racoon canines within the swabs, The New York Occasions reported.

The research added to the raging debate over whether or not the virus got here from a lab leak or pure transmission. Nonetheless, it doesn’t show that the virus originated there.

Metzl admonished China for hiding proof that would unlock the solutions.

“China has systematically destroyed samples, hidden data, imprisoned Chinese language journalists for asking probably the most primary questions,” Metzl stated. “They’ve a gag order to today stopping Chinese language scientists from saying or writing something about pandemic origins with out prior authorities approval, they usually’ve achieved all the things of their energy to dam a global investigation.”

NewsNation writers Taylor Delandro and Cassie Buchman contributed to this report.