Covid-19 origins may never be known, US intelligence agencies sayon October 30, 2021 at 3:47 am

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

But US agencies say the virus, first identified in China, was not developed as a biological weapon.

A man wears a mask while walking in the street on 22 January 2020 in Wuhan

Image source, Getty Images

US intelligence agencies say they may never be able to identify the origins of Covid-19, but they have concluded it was not created as a biological weapon.

In an updated assessment of where the virus began, the Office of the US Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said an animal-to-human transmission and a lab leak were both plausible hypotheses for how it spread.

But there was not enough information to reach a definitive conclusion.

China has criticised 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.

It said the intelligence community remains divided on the most likely origin of the virus. Four agencies assessed with “low confidence” it had originated with an infected animal or a related virus.

But one agency said it had “moderate confidence” that the first human infection most likely was the result of a laboratory accident, probably involving experimentation or animal handling by the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The report also said Chinese officials were unaware of the existence of the virus before the initial outbreak of Covid-19 in the city of Wuhan, in late 2019. But it said China was continuing to hinder the global investigation and to resist sharing information.

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

But earlier this year, US media reports suggested growing evidence the virus could instead have emerged from the Wuhab laboratory, perhaps through an accidental leak.

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

Responding to the intelligence report, the Chinese embassy in Washington said in a statement to Reuters news agency: “The US moves of relying on its intelligence apparatus instead of scientists to trace the origins of Covid-19 is a complete political farce.

“We have been supporting science-based efforts on origins tracing, and will continue to stay actively engaged. That said, we firmly oppose attempts to politicise this issue.”

Around 240 million cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed around the world, with more than 4.9 million deaths.

- Advertisement -




Deadly bombing at restaurant packed for Christmason December 26, 2021 at 2:39 am

Six people have been killed after a suicide bomber targeted a restaurant in eastern DR Congo.Six people have been killed after a suicide bomber...

How coronavirus forced hundreds of thousands of electronic music fans to miss out on two huge raves

For hundreds of thousands of electronic music lovers, Tomorrowland’s winter and summer festivals are the highlights of the year. Not this year. The coronavirus...

Southern Ukraine city Mykolaiv heavily shelled by Russianson July 31, 2022 at 8:08 am

Ukraine says Russian rockets and missiles hit Mykolaiv, a key port city on the main route to Odesa.Image source, ReutersUkraine says the southern city...

Raducanu named WTA newcomer of the yearon December 7, 2021 at 3:08 pm

British number one Emma Raducanu has been named newcomer of the year by the Women's Tennis Association.British number one Emma Raducanu has been named...

UK to remove all 11 countries from red liston December 14, 2021 at 2:40 pm

The UK has taken all 11 African countries off England's red list, easing travel restrictionsImage source, Getty ImagesThe government has said that all 11...