In a hearing today, former CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield acknowledged that the United States funded gain-of-function research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Defense, which may have played a role in causing the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Gain-of-function research involves modifying viruses to make them more infectious or deadly in order to better understand how they work and develop treatments or vaccines. However, critics argue that this type of research also poses a significant risk if the modified virus escapes from the lab.
Dr. Redfield's admission is likely to reignite debate over the origins of COVID-19, which has been a contentious issue since the start of the pandemic. While many scientists believe that the virus originated in bats and was transmitted to humans through an intermediate animal host, others have suggested that it may have escaped from a laboratory conducting gain-of-function research.