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Billionaire tech founder and philanthropist Bill Gates dismissed the lab leak theory on the origins of the coronavirus Tuesday, and instead claimed it originated in bats.
Gates appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” to discuss his new book, “How to Prevent the Next Pandemic,” and brushed off a suggestion by host Trevor Noah that labs studying viruses needed to do a better job at containing any potential hazard from escaping.
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“I found myself reading the book, and I was fascinated, but I was going, shouldn’t we also be interested in how this pandemic came to be?” Noah said. “Like, it’s still shrouded in so much mystery. It’s like, how do we prevent something where we don’t even understand how it came to be?”
“Are there labs where they need to do better at, you know, enclosing the work that they’re doing? I understand that they have to do the work, but how do we figure that out, and how do we move forward in that realm?” he added.
Gates responded by turning the focus to the spread of disease from animals, arguing that the coronavirus was no different than other diseases that are known to have originated from animals like chimpanzees and bats.
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“Well, (indiscernible) careful about lab safety. It’s quite clear in this case that it came across through animals,” Gates said. “And almost all our diseases, like HIV, crossed over from chimpanzees in Africa quite some time ago. Ebola came from bats. This, also, with one step in between, came from bats.”
He went on to claim that the spread of disease from animals to humans would continue to happen as humans kept “invading a lot of habitats” due to climate change.
In contrast with Gates’ claim about the origins of the coronavirus, a growing number of scientists worldwide have given more consideration to the theory that it originated in a Wuhan, China lab before somehow escaping.
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According to a February report, the U.K. government believes the lab leak theory to be the most likely explanation on the virus’ origins.
No animal has yet to be found carrying the coronavirus despite massive testing by investigators from the World Health Organization in China in the area thought to be where the outbreak first started.