Fauci calls on China to release medical records of Wuhan lab workers

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Dr. Anthony Fauci has reportedly called on China to release the medical records of nine people who fell sick with COVID-like illness — saying they might provide vital clues into whether the deadly virus first emerged as the result of a lab leak in Wuhan.

The records concern three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology who reportedly fell ill in November 2019, and six miners who became sick after entering a bat cave in 2012, according to the Financial Times.

Scientists from the institute later visited the cave to take samples from the bats. Three of the miners died.

“I would like to see the medical records of the three people who are reported to have got sick in 2019. Did they really get sick, and if so, what did they get sick with?” Fauci told the Financial Times on Thursday about some in the group.

“The same with the miners who got ill years ago … What do the medical records of those people say? Was there (a) virus in those people? What was it?” he asked.

“It is entirely conceivable that the origins of Sars-Cov-2 was in that cave and either started spreading naturally or went through the lab,” the top adviser on the coronavirus to President Biden added.

Fauci admitted this week that the deadly bug could have come from a “lab leak” — as emails released through the Freedom of Information Act show he was told of “unusual features of the virus” at the beginning of the pandemic.

He blamed the criticism of his shifting positions on “people out there” who “resent” him.

Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, admitted that he “can’t guarantee everything that is going on in the Wuhan lab” in the wake of criticism after a trove of his emails were published Tuesday.

The emails show that Fauci was warned early in the outbreak that the virus had possibly been “engineered” — but he and other experts dismissed the controversial claim at the time.

He has previously said he believed COVID-19 was a natural occurrence, though he has admitted to not being “100 percent” certain.

But in his interview with the Financial Times, Fauci said he still does not believe the virus escaping from a lab is the most plausible explanation for the emergence of the illness.

“I have always felt that the overwhelming likelihood, given the experience we have had with Sars, Mers, Ebola, HIV, bird flu, the swine flu pandemic of 2009, was that the virus jumped species,” he said.

“But we need to keep on investigating until a possibility is proven,” the top infectious diseases doc added.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a question by the news outlet about whether the Biden administration had asked China for the medical records.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry declined to say whether it would consider releasing the records.

But spokesman Wang Wenbin repeated a statement made by the institute in March that none of its staff had ever been infected with the illness, the Financial Times reported.

In his interview, Fauci dismissed the idea that his organization might bear any responsibility for the pandemic.

“Are you really saying that we are implicated because we gave a multibillion-dollar institution $120,000 a year for bat surveillance?” he told the outlet.

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