U.S. intelligence agencies said Friday that they may not be able to identify the origin of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. They released a new, more detailed version of their report examining whether the coronavirus was transmitted from animals to humans, or whether it came from a laboratory.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) says in an unclassified report that natural origin or descent from a laboratory are both possible hypotheses of how SARS-COV-2 managed to infect humans.
The report refutes suggestions that the coronavirus may have been used as a biological weapon, noting that proponents of the theory “do not have direct access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology” and have been accused of spreading misinformation. The report released Friday is an update to a 90-day summary released by President Joe Biden’s administration in August as a fierce political battle ensued over blaming China for the effects of the global pandemic, rather than governments that could have not acted with due diligence to protect their citizens.
COVID-19 was often described as the “Chinese virus” by former President Donald Trump, who lost his re-election campaign as the pandemic hit the US economy and many of his supporters.
The ODNI report states that four of the US intelligence agencies and a working group with the participation of several agencies have “low confidence” in the version that COVID-19 originated in an infected animal or other similar virus.
But one agency said it had “moderate faith” that a man’s first infection with COVID-19 was most likely the result of a laboratory accident, possibly linked to some animal experimentation or involvement at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. .
U.S. intelligence agencies believe they will not be able to provide a clearer explanation for the origin of COVID-19 without any further information indicating that the virus described a specific trajectory from animals to humans, or that the laboratory in Wuhan was managing this virus or a similar virus before COVID-19ta appeared.
The report says US agencies and the global scientific community do not have “clinical samples or a complete worldview of epidemiological data from the earliest cases of COVID-19” and adds that they will reconsider this conclusion if further evidence emerges.
China has faced international criticism for not cooperating better in investigating the origins of COVID. The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment./VOA
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