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Joe Biden's chief medical offical Dr Anthony Fauci has called on China to release the medical records of nine people whose ailments might provide vital clues into whether COVID-19 first emerged as the result of a lab leak, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

“I would like to see the medical records of the three people who are reported to have got sick in 2019," Fauci said as quoted by the report. “Did they really get sick, and if so, what did they get sick with?''

“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? 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."

Dr Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or NIAID, told the Financial Times that the records could help resolve the debate over the origins of a disease that has killed more than 3.5m people worldwide.

The records in question concern three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology who reportedly became sick in November 2019, and six miners who fell ill after entering a bat cave in 2012. Scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology subsequently visited the cave to take samples from the bats. Three of the miners died.

However, Chinese scientists and officials have consistently rejected the lab leak hypothesis, saying the virus could have been circulating in other regions before it hit Wuhan and might have even entered China through imported frozen food shipments or wildlife trading.

Fauci told the FT he continues to believe the virus was first transmitted to humans via animals, pointing out that even if the lab researchers did have Covid-19, they could have contracted the disease from the wider population. But he said he thought the question warranted further investigation, not least because of the renewed public interest.


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