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Dr. Robert Redfield testified before Congress Wednesday, noting three suspicious events at the Wuhan Institute of Virology that strengthened his long-held conviction that COVID-19 came from a Chinese lab — a belief, he says, that got him boxed out of transformative conversations.
Whereas there is now growing recognition that COVID-19 "most likely" originated in the Chinese Communist Party-controlled Wuhan Institute of Virology, where dangerous gain-of-function experiments were routinely performed on coronaviruses, saying so in recent years prompted derision and censorship.
Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reportedly received death threats from his fellow scientists for noting that human error and meddling may have resulted in the spread of a virus that claimed tens of millions of lives worldwide.
"I was threatened and ostracized because I proposed another hypothesis," he told Vanity Fair. "I expected it from politicians. I didn't expect it from science."
When addressing the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on March 8, he did not hold back.
Bad things happen in threes
Redfield noted there were three things in particular that took place early in the pandemic that bolstered his suspicion that COVID-19 came from a lab.
First, "they deleted the sequences. Highly irregular. Researchers don't like to do that."
The New York Times reported that early in the pandemic, over 200 data entries from the genetic sequencing of early cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan were erased from an online scientific database. The early suspicion was that these sequences were deleted because they revealed that the virus that ravaged the world may have predated the alleged outbreak at the wet marked in December 2019.
Jesse Bloom, a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, was able to track down 13 of the sequences online and determined that it "seems likely that the sequences were deleted to obscure their existence."
Chinese researchers had requested that the National Institutes of Health delete the sequences, and the NIH complied, reported the Washington Examiner.
Redfield appeared to suggest that the deletion of sequences took place as early as September 2019.
Second, Redfield said, "they changed the command and control at the lab from civilian control to military control. Highly unusual."
In 2021, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) noted during a meeting of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, "New testimony now received by my committee reveals the Chinese military potentially took over this lab, not in January 2020 as was reported, but earlier in 2019. ... The Chinese military were actually in the facility at the time of 2017. That signals the CCP was worried about something at the lab before the world even knew what COVID-19 was. Why else would they put the Chinese military in charge?"
The State Department noted in early 2021 that "the [Wuhan Institute of Virology] has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017."
Major General Chen Wei, China's top biowarfare expert, formally took over the BSL-4 lab from a local communist party committee president on Jan. 31, 2020, sparking concerns that the virus not only originated in the lab but was linked to a biowarfare program.
Third, "which is very telling, they let a contractor redo the ventilation system in that laboratory. So I think, clearly, there was strong evidence that a significant event that happened in that laboratory in September."
Redfield ruffled feathers in March 2021 when he went on CNN and said, "I'm of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathology in Wuhan was from a laboratory — escaped. ... Other people don't believe that. That's fine. Science will eventually figure it out."
Redfield told the subcommittee that retired National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci and former National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins both sought to push a "single narrative" about the virus' origins.
Redfield noted that he "made it very clear in January  to all of them why we had to aggressively pursue this and I let them know, as a virologist, that I didn't see that this was anything like SARS or MERS because they never learned how to transmit human to human."
"I felt that this virus was too infectious for humans," said Redfield. "There was a lot of evidence that lab actually published in 2014 that they put the ACE2 receptor into humanized mice so it could infect human tissue. I think, you know, we had to really seriously go after the fact it came from the lab and they knew that that was how I was thinking, although I thought we had to go after both hypotheses."
Even though Redfield helmed the CDC at the time, Redfield intimated that Fauci elected not to involve him in the controversial Feb. 1, 2020, conference call with top virologists on account of his insistence on a possible lab origin.
TheBlaze previously reported that Fauci appeared keen to push the zoonotic origins theory, both on the conference call and in the correspondence that followed.
According to congressional investigators, just days after the call, Fauci commissioned an influential 2020 study suggesting COVID-19 was not the result of a Chinese lab leak. The former NIAID director also reportedly edited and provided final approval for the document, which he later cited on the national stage without noting his involvement.
Redfield revealed he was not made aware of his exclusion from the conference call or the call itself until the correspondences was released following a FOIA request.
When asked why Fauci and others excluded him, Redfield answered, "Because I had a different point of view and I was told they made a decision that they would keep this confidential until they came up with a single narrative, which I will argue is antithetical to science."
"This was an a priori decision that there’s one point of view that we’re going to put out there, and anyone who doesn’t agree with it is going to be sidelined," Redfield told Congress. "And as I say, I was only the CDC director, and I was sidelined."
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Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.