Washington: Dr Anthony Fauci, America's top health expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has said that he is "not convinced" that the COVID-19 virus that affected millions across the globe was developed naturally.
Following the speculation, Fauci has even called for an open investigation into China to unravel the virus' origins, the media reported.
During a Poynter event, "United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking", held earlier this month, Fauci said he was not confident on whether the COVID was developed naturally and opined that investigations should be continued to find out what happened in China.
"No actually. I am not convinced about that, I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened,", Fox News quoted Fauci as saying.
Fauci further said that the origin of the coronavirus that brought the world to a standstill could be something else although the previous investigation points out that the virus was likely to have emerged from an animal reservoir which then infected individuals,
Fauci also added that he was perfectly in favour of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus.
The Coronavirus was first reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. Reports have claimed the virus' origin from a lab there.
Further, Fauci called for an investigation into China during a Senate hearing last week, the New York Post reported.
Do you think it's possible that Covid-19 arose from a lab accident in Wuhan, and should it be fully investigated?" Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), a doctor, asked Fauci during a Senate hearing on May 11.
"I do not have any accounting of what the Chinese may have done, and I'm fully in favour of any further investigation of what went on in China," Fauci said.
However, he assured that the NIH and NIAID categorically have not funded the gain of function research to be conducted in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Fauci, who is also a top adviser to President Biden on the coronavirus pandemic, had in the initial months of the pandemic last year dismissed the theory that Covid originated from China. He stated that the virus most likely "evolved in nature and then jumped species", as opposed to being "artificially or deliberately manipulated".