We may never know how COVID-19 originated, say US intelligence officials

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Oct 30, 2021, 01:18 PM(IST)

Long Covid Photograph:( AFP )

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The report also dismissed suggestions that the coronavirus originated as a bioweapon, saying proponents of this theory "do not have direct access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology" and have been accused of spreading disinformation

US intelligence agencies said they may never be able to conclude whether the COVID-19 virus was developed in a Wuhan lab or transmitted from animal to human, a declassified report has stated.

In an updated assessment of how the virus originated, the Office of the US Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in its report said that a natural origin and a lab leak are both plausible hypotheses for how SARS-COV-2 first infected humans.

But it said the analysts disagree on which is more likely or whether any definitive assessment can be made at all.

The report issued on Friday is an update of a 90-day review that President Joe Biden's administration released in August.

Also Read | Origin of Wuhan virus needs to be found

The report also dismissed suggestions that the coronavirus originated as a bioweapon, saying proponents of this theory "do not have direct access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology" and have been accused of spreading disinformation.

On Friday, China responded by criticizing the report.

Also Read | Virus origin probe 'poisoned by politics', says WHO

“The US moves of relying on its intelligence apparatus instead of scientists to trace the origins of COVID-19 is a complete political farce,” Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said in an emailed statement.

“It will only undermine science-based origins study and hinder the global effort of finding the source of the virus,” the statement said.

Also read | Fauci calls on China to release medical records of Wuhan lab workers: Report

Chinese authorities had linked early COVID-19 cases to a seafood market in Wuhan, leading many scientists to theorise that the virus first passed to humans from animals.

But earlier this year, there were several US media reports suggesting growing evidence that the virus could instead have emerged from a virology lab in Wuhan.

In May, President Joe Biden ordered intelligence officials to investigate the virus's origins, including the lab leak theory, which is rejected by China.

(With inputs from agencies)

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