US intelligence has failed to confirm whether the virus that has killed more than 4.4 million people worldwide has shifted from an animal to a human or has escaped from a laboratory in China.
Biden had requested the document at the end of May and gave a 90-day deadline (which has just expired). The disclosure of the report’s conclusion was made by The Washington Post on Tuesday (24).
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US President Joe Biden speaking at the White House Aug. 24, 2021 — Photo: Susan Walsh/AP
At the time, the US president asked investigators to question the Chinese government, which criticized the request and said the US government was acting politically.
Part of the reason the intelligence services have not come to a conclusion is that China has not provided enough information, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Sources quoted by the “Washington Post” say that the intelligence services will try to declassify parts of the report so that they are released.
The WHO (World Health Organization) sent a mission of experts to China earlier this year to try to discover the origin of SARS-CoV-2, but the report also did not reach a definitive conclusion.
WHO experts considered the laboratory leakage theory to be extremely unlikely., but the group only spent three hours at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the entire visit was heavily controlled by the Chinese government.
There were 4 main conclusions of the study:
- It’s “possible or probable” that the origin of the new coronavirus was direct infection from animal to human;
- It’s “likely or very likely” that there was an intermediate animal between an infected animal and a person;
- It’s possible” that the virus has reached humans through food products (hypothesis defended by China);
- It’s “extremely unlikely” that the virus has reached humans due to a laboratory incident.
World Health Organization releases research findings in Wuhan on the origin of the new coronavirus.
The hypothesis of an accident in Wuhan’s laboratory is rejected by most experts, but has returned to the debate in the US in recent months, and calls for deeper investigation have multiplied in the scientific community.
Laboratory accidents do not mean that the virus was created artificially or on purpose, but that it may have escaped the protective barriers of a place that studies pathogens that infect other living beings.
The first confirmed cases of Covid-19, at the turn of 2019 to 2020, were related to a wildlife market in Wuhan, where the virus is also believed to have started to infect humans.
The first death caused by the new coronavirus (a 61-year-old man with a “mysterious viral pneumonia”) was officially registered on January 9, 2020 in the city.
The Chinese government fiercely fights the leak thesis and accuses the US government of spreading conspiracy theories. Recently, the country denied a WHO request to continue studies on the origin of the coronavirus (see the video below).
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China rejects 2nd phase of investigation on the origin of the new coronavirus