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Transcript: The Origins of COVID-19: Policy Implications and Lessons for the Future

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Following is the full transcript of the March 12th, 2021 Hudson event titled The Origins of COVID-19: Policy Implications and Lessons for the Future

David Asher: Hello, it’s David Asher. I’m a Senior Fellow here at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. I want to welcome everyone to an event on preventing the next pandemic. The policy implications of China, COVID-19, and the future of the world in an era of biology, indeed of synthetic biology. I want to just directly introduce our moderator today, Christopher Isham. Many years with CBS News as the D.C. Bureau Chief, and Deputy Head of CBS News. Many years before that as the Lead Investigator for ABC News. Among other famous interviews, he was the first Westerner to interview Osama Bin Laden. He’s cracked many big stories in the past and is an old friend. We’re very grateful for his moderation today. Chris, I’ll turn it over to you.

Christopher Isham: Okay. Thank you very much, David. Just by way of a brief setup, it’s now more than 14 months that we’re into COVID-19 since it emerged in Wuhan, China. More than two and a half million people have died. A million more have been sickened, some with lasting effects. There’s been obviously a devastating effect on the world economy. Yet we still have no clear understanding of the origins of this virus. Conventional wisdom and many in the scientific community have said that its origins are zoonotic. That is, the virus jumped from an animal in the wild, most likely a bat, to humans possibly via an intermediate animal host. The other theory is that the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan that was conducting myriad experiments on bat coronaviruses.