Security personnel stand guard outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan as members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus travel to the Wuhan Institute in central China’s Hubei Province on February 3, 2021.
Hector Rétamal | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – The U.S. intelligence community said on Thursday it was divided over the exact origin of Covid-19 in China, a revelation that comes three months after President Joe Biden called for further examination.
“After reviewing all available intelligence reports and other information, however, the IC remains divided over the most likely origin of Covid-19. All agencies assess that two hypotheses are plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and an incident associated with the lab, “the country’s 18 intelligence agencies wrote in the unclassified report.
An intelligence agency reported moderate confidence in humans infected with the virus after a lab-related incident. According to the report, four agencies said they had little confidence that the virus had a natural emergence. He did not name the agencies.
The report said the intelligence community would not be able to draw a more definitive conclusion unless it receives more information.
Biden, in a statement after the report was released, said the United States and its allies would continue to pressure China to reveal more about what happened when Covid began to spread.
“Critical information about the origins of this pandemic exists in the People’s Republic of China, but from the start Chinese government officials have worked to prevent international investigators and members of the global public health community from accessing it. “Biden said.
“The world deserves answers, and I will not rest until we have them,” the president added.
The report, compiled by the office of the director of national intelligence, found that the virus was not developed as a biological weapon. The intelligence community also assesses that Chinese officials had no prior knowledge of the virus before the initial outbreak that triggered a global pandemic.
In May, Biden ordered further intelligence examination of what he described as two probable scenarios of the origins of Covid-19.
It is still not known whether the virus escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, NIH director Dr Francis Collins said in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday, adding that the investigation of the The World Health Organization on the origin of the coronavirus had “receded”.
“A lot of evidence from other points of view says no, it was a natural virus,” Collins said. “Not to say that it could not be studied in secret at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and come out of it, we don’t know. But the virus itself does not have the mark of having was created intentionally by human labor. “
The WHO investigation was made more difficult by China’s refusal to participate, Collins said.
“I think China basically refused to consider another WHO investigation and just said ‘no, not interested’,” Collins told CNBC’s Squawk Box.
This story is developing. Please check for updates.