Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, a virologist, slammed gain-of-function research as not worth the risk during the House’s hearing on the origins of COVID-19.
Redfield appeared in a Wednesday panel in front of the House COVID origins select committee, where he blasted the controversial research method, saying he is not aware it has ever created a treatment or “life-saving vaccines.”
“No, on the contrary, I think it probably caused the greatest pandemic our world has seen,” Redfield told committee chairman Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, who asked if gain-of-function research has ever stopped a pandemic.
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Redfield also answered in the negative when Wenstrup asked if he believes there are any “tangible benefits” to gain-of-function research.
The former CDC director also stressed that his scientist colleagues who engage in the research are “people of good faith” who “truly believe” the research will yield benefits.
“I personally don’t, but I do want to stress, I think the men and women that support it are people of good faith because they truly believe it’s going to lead to a potential benefit,” Redfield said.
“I disagree with that assessment,” he added.
Redfield also said he does not view gain-of-function research as being worth the risk but the decision to engage in the research should not be left to scientists “alone,” calling for a “broader societal debate” on the matter.
The former CDC director also said that he “absolutely” believes the Wuhan Institute of Virology was engaging in gain-of-function research.
Redfield also said during the hearing that he told former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci in 2020 that he did not believe natural spillover — the virus traveling from animals or plants to humans — was “scientifically plausible” with the origins of COVID-19 and was excommunicated from talks about the virus.
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“It was told me they wanted a single narrative and I had a different point of view,” Redfield said.
Redfield also noted the evidence disputing the wet market origin theory of COVID-19 in China, saying we “now know that there were infections as far back as September” of 2019.