Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Sunday that casual lab leaks"occur all of the time" amid mounting concern regarding the origins of this COVID-19 pandemic.
Gottlieb expressed concern about safety protocols at research labs in the U.S. and abroad within an appearance on CBS'"Face the Nation." The former commissioner said a conclusive determination on where the pandemic originated was critical to prevent deadly outbreaks in the future.
"All these kinds of lab leaks happen all the time, in fact," Gottlieb stated. "Even here in the United States, we have had mishaps, also in China, the last six known outbreaks of SARS-1 have been from labs, such as the last known epidemic, which was a pretty extensive epidemic that China initially wouldn't disclose that it came out of a lab."
Calls for additional investigation of this pandemic's origins have intensified lately.
President Biden said the intelligence community has yet to determine if the pandemic began after human contact with contaminated animals or due to a lab mishap. Officials are expected to deliver an updated report in their completion within the next few months.
Biden has pledged to make any relevant findings from their investigation public.
Gottlieb called on officials to view the pandemic and lab security as matters of national security, given the effect of COVID-19.
"It's crucial that you understand what the potential is that this came out of a laboratory so we can concentrate more global attention on trying to get improved inventories about these labs, what they are doing, better safety, make sure they are properly built," he added. "We will need to also look at public health through the lens of national security. This was an asymmetric injury to the United States of America. COVID hurt the U.S. a lot more than it hurt many different countries."