Pompeo claims there is 'significant evidence' Covid-19 came from Wuhan laboratory

3 May 2020, 16:25

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed there is 'significant evidence' Covid-19 came from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

Speaking on Sunday, Pompeo said: "I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan."

He did not reveal what evidence it was that supported his claim.

Pompeo then added: "The best experts so far seem to think it was man-made. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point.”

The news comes after President Donald Trump was criticised by UK experts for claiming the viral outbreak originated in the lab.

British scientists called the US President's remarks "unhelpful" as they risk undermining the public health response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Donald Trump was criticised for making the same claim
Donald Trump was criticised for making the same claim. Picture: PA

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Trump said he has seen evidence which makes him “confident” that Covid-19 came from a laboratory in Wuhan and that its release was a "mistake".

His remarks sparked an outcry from UK academics who dismissed the US leader's claims as "debunked conspiracy theories."

Dr Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton, said on Friday: "We have good evidence from the genomics research that the virus is not man-made, and the scientific world has very much moved on from this idea.

"It is unhelpful for high-profile individuals to repeat the debunked conspiracy theories, as it undermines the public health response."

Brendan Wren, Professor of Medical Microbiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, also commented saying he saw no evidence of foul play and that pandemics occur naturally throughout history.

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"Having been to Wuhan a number of times and having had infectious disease researchers from Wuhan working in my labs in London, I don't believe that there have been any deliberate or nefarious activities with the SARS-Cov-2 virus," he said.

He added that the city of Wuhan has "excellent state-of-the-art infectious disease facilities".

"It is generally accepted that the virus has mutated naturally and it has been very difficult to contain within the human community," he continued.

"It should be noted that pandemics occur throughout history and indeed we have them every year.

"These include other viruses and bacteria; for example, antibiotic-resistant bacteria that we know through human activities, such as travel, spread rapidly worldwide.

"Pandemics happen naturally and it is unnecessary to invoke a conspiracy theory."