BRITISH expert on the World Health Organisation team investigating the origins of the pandemic has admitted Covid could have leaked from a lab in Wuhan.
Dr Peter Daszak made the monumental U-turn after previously dismissing the theory as “pure baloney” as the team of scientists finally visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)
Dr Daszak, head of the EcoHealth Alliance, and the other scientists are understood to have met with Dr Shi Zhengli, known as China’s “Bat Woman” in the three hour trip to the lab.
The scientist revealed the WHO team are getting data which “which no one has seen before” and they are “really getting somewhere” – adding they are not ruling out that the virus came from a lab.
He told Sky News: “We are seeing new information and it’s good, it’s very valuable stuff that is beginning to help us look at the right directions for this virus.”
Dr Dazak added: “If it leads us to a seafood market and a cold chain, we’ll follow it there.
“If it leads us to a wildlife farm or a wildlife market we’ll go there. If it leads us to a lab we’ll go there.
“Everything’s on the table and we’re keeping an open mind.”
Questions have been asked about Dr Daszak’s position on the team as his organisation is known to have funnelled cash to the lab.
Being pals with Dr Shi, he has also vehemently defended her team and previously rubbished any suggestions the virus may have come from a leak.
He last year described the lab claim as a “conspiracy theory” and part of a campaign of “misinformation and finger-pointing”.
WHO have also been resistant to the theory, dismissing comments alleging a lab leak by Donald Trump’s comments as having “no evidence” and as “speculative”.
The organisation’s mission brief released ahead of the arrival of their team in China also made no mention of investigating the lab.
They are talking with us openly about every possible pathway. We really are getting somewhereDr Peter Daszak
China has aggressively pushed back against any suggestion the virus could have escaped from WIV, which is known to have been carrying out experiments on infectious hybrid coronaviruses.
The scientific community seems satisfied that Covid is a naturally formed virus, but some suggest it may have escaped from the lab due to improper safety procedures.
Just last week a US biologist Bret Weinstein suggested there is a 90 per cent chance it leaked from the lab while being interviewed by TV host Bill Maher.
Meanwhile, Dr Shi reportedly continues to insist the origins of how the virus spread to humans remains a “mystery” as the team arrived at her lab.
Dr Daszak said: “We’re all aware of the hypotheses around the potential involvement of the lab in this and we’re certainly going to ask questions about all of the key aspects of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“If there are data that point towards any hypothesis, we’ll follow the data, we’ll follow the evidence where it leads us.”
Dr Daszak also defended his working relationship with the WIV and Dr Shi despite questions that his impartiality was compromised.
He said: “My relationship with China, my work here, my connections to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and Shi Zhengli are very well known.
“And they’re really well known because I’ve spent 20 years or 15 years publishing the data. I think that’s a pretty worthwhile thing that we’ve been doing.”
He claimed the team are gathering “little clues” and said China is sharing never-before-seen data with them.
“They are talking with us openly about every possible pathway. We really are getting somewhere and I think every member of the team would say that,” Dr Daszak added.
He was confident they would find answers by warned new virus variants mean Covid will continue to mutate and is likely to be around “forever”.
The ten-person team are currently on the ground in China as they attempt to piece together where Covid came from – with the virus going on to kill 2.2million worldwide.
China has long been accused of covering up its origins – and has been continuing to attempt to deflect blame.