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Fauci calls continued investigation of Covid origins ‘obviously important’

Fauci calls continued investigation of Covid origins ‘obviously important’
President’s chief medical adviser appeared to stop short of explicitly voicing support for the senators’ plans

Dr Anthony Fauci has said he supports continued investigations into the origins of Covid-19 after two senators proposed a task force that would take up that topic.

The expert signaled his backing at a White House Covid-19 response briefing on Wednesday when asked about last week’s proposal by Sens Patty Murray (D – Washington) and Richard Burr (R – North Carolina).

The legislation put forward by the pair would charge Congress with appointing a task force to examine the initial emergence of the virus and evaluate America’s preparedness for future pandemics.

Asked if he thinks it’s necessary to conduct an inquiry into Covid’s origins, Dr Fauci gave a lengthy reply but appeared to stop short of explicitly voicing support for the senators’ plans.

“I think it’s important to look at every aspect of this outbreak for lessons learned, that is not only what the origin of the virus is but many other things that we could learn from in the future so we can prevent something like this happening or respond better if and when it does,” he said.

“One of those is understanding what the origin of the virus is. It’s very important.”

Dr Fauci noted that studies of the first-ever detected coronavirus in 2002 “took years” to pinpoint the origin – suggesting a long road for the same result with Covid-19.

“It would be obviously important to determine how this went from what was very likely an animal reservoir, given the similarity with bat viruses, how that happened to go into humans to lead to this outbreak,” he said.

“Understanding that will help us prepare for any future outbreak as well as prepare for a response. So I’m definitely in favour of that.”

Jeff Zients, the White House Covid response coordinator, also addressed the senators’ proposal when asked whether it is backed by President Joe Biden.

“We share the senators’ focus, a lot of the bill is about building stronger public health systems and we appreciate the bipartisan goals to ensure the country is better prepared for outbreaks in the future like Covid,” he said.

“Right now our focus is 100 per cent on fighting Omicron and Covid … Across time we do look forward to engaging with Congress and reviewing lessons learned from this pandemic.”