An expert said Sunday that finding out where COVID-19 originated from is "absolutely critical" in preventing future coronavirus outbreaks.
Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" and said:
There’s going to be COVID-26 and COVID-32 unless we fully understand the origins of COVID-19. This is absolutely critical.
Hotez said that saying that the U.S. must send experts to Wuhan lab to investigate the origins, noting that an intelligence investigation is not enough.
I’m personally of the opinion that we’ve pushed intelligence as far as we can. We need a team of scientists, genealogists, biologists, bat ecologists in the Hubei province for six months to a year-long period and fully unravel the origins of COVID-19.
However, he does acknowledge that China likely will not be willing to cooperate in a full investigation. A World Health Organization team was barred from the lab earlier this year as a result of interference from Beijing.
I think we have to really put a lot of pressure on China, including possible sanctions to allow a team of outstanding epidemiologists and virologists in China with unfettered access to the animals, the people, to samples [and] the lab.
Hotez said that the truth surrounding the origins of COVID-19 may never be discovered without "full access" to the Wuhan lab.
I think you really need to have detailed analysis about the bat populations — all of the possible reservoir animals and people — and without that, it’s going to be really hard to work this out.