"You have to remember -- these labs are still open inside of China these labs that contain complex pathogens that were being studied. It's not just the Wuhan Institute of Virology," Pompeo told reporters.
"It's important that those materials are being handled in a safe and secure way such that there isn't accidental release," Pompeo told reporters.
Pompeo cited the example of nuclear facilities, pointing to the rigorous global inspections to ensure safety.
He renewed concerns that China has not shared a sample of the initially detected virus, known scientifically as SARS-CoV-2.
"We still do not have a sample of the virus, nor has the world had access to the facilities or other locations where this virus may have originally originated inside of Wuhan," Pompeo said.
(China has now rejected this US call as being "politically motivated" but they weren't terribly specific beyond that.)
Would China [physically] sharing "a sample of the initially detected virus" (which of course begets the question which sample is that precisely--but let's assume they share all 40 or so initial samples they reported/discovered back in Jan) have any scientific value? E.g. is [physically] sharing those samples (more broadly) likely to shed any additional light on the virus' origins? (In that regard, have Western scientists asked for those [physical] samples, or said they are important for China to [physically] share them, independently/before the US political leadership's involvement in the matter?)
For more context, a Yale med page from January says:
Two weeks ago, we didn't even know what the nCOV2019 virus was. Today, thanks to China’s quick public release of the initial nCOV2019 virus genome [...] To go from unknown pathogen to diagnostic tests so quickly is incredible! The scientists at the Fudan University, China CDC, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhejiang Provincial CDC, and the Thai National Institute of Health should be highly praised for making their data rapidly available to the public.
So, per comments below, if Pompeo means something else by "sample of the virus" (not physical sample[s]), what is that?