US intelligence agencies say they may never be able to identify the origins of Covid-19, but have concluded that it was not created as a bioweapon.
In an updated assessment of the origin of the virus, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence of the United States (ODNI) said that an animal-to-human transmission and a laboratory leak were both plausible guesses as to how it spread.
But there wasn’t enough information to come to a firm conclusion.
China criticized the report.
The findings were published in a declassified report which is an update of a 90-day review that President Joe Biden’s administration released in August.
He said the intelligence community remains divided over the most likely origin of the virus. Four agencies rated with “low confidence” that it originated from an infected animal or a related virus.
But one agency said it had “moderate confidence” that the first human infection was most likely the result of a laboratory accident, which likely involved testing or handling animals by the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The report also claimed that Chinese officials were unaware of the virus’s existence prior to the initial outbreak of Covid-19 in the city of Wuhan in late 2019. But it said China continued to hinder global investigations and resist sharing. information.
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Chinese authorities have linked the first cases of Covid-19 to a fish market in Wuhan, leading scientists to theorize that the virus first passed to humans from animals.
But earlier this year, US media reports suggested mounting evidence that the virus may have emerged from the Wuhab lab instead, possibly through an accidental leak.
In May, President Biden ordered intelligence officials to investigate the origins of the virus, including the laboratory leak theory, which was rejected by China.
Responding to the intelligence report, the Chinese embassy in Washington said in a statement to Reuters news agency: “The move by the United States to rely on its own intelligence apparatus instead of scientists to trace the origins of Covid-19. it is a complete political farce.
“We have supported science-based efforts on the trace of origins and will continue to remain actively involved. That said, we strongly oppose attempts to politicize this issue.”
About 240 million Covid-19 cases have been confirmed worldwide, with over 4.9 million deaths.
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