Officials leading an intelligence investigation into the origins of COVID-19 believe the virus unintentionally escaped from a Wuhan lab is just as possible as the virus emerging spontaneously in the wild.
This is a significant change from a year ago, when Democrats openly mocked the “lab leak” notion.
The lab-leak scenario has acquired a lot of popularity recently, prompting US President Joe Biden to assign the American intelligence team a 90-day deadline to figure out where the virus came from.
According to CNN, the US intelligence community is split on whether the virus spread spontaneously from animals to humans in the wild or if it slipped from the Wuhan lab.
According to CNN, which cited sources, there has been little new information to shift the needle in one direction or the other.
The fact that top Biden officials are seriously considering the lab leak theory is noteworthy, and it comes amid a growing openness to the idea, despite the fact that most scientists who study coronaviruses and have investigated the pandemic’s origins say the evidence strongly supports a natural origin.
According to the sources, current intelligence confirms that the virus most likely emerged organically — from animal-human interaction — and was not purposely developed.
However, it is possible that the virus was accidentally released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where coronavirus research was being undertaken on bats, though many experts acquainted with the research believe this is implausible.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said on Thursday that dismissing the possibility of a lab leak causing the pandemic was “premature,” and urged China to provide “direct information on what the situation of these labs was before and at the start of the pandemic.”
After several notable scientists advocated for a complete inquiry into the virus’s origins, the so-called “lab leak” scenario has reawakened public debate.
A WHO-led team of scientists who went to China in early 2021 to look into the virus’s origins struggled to gain a clear understanding of what research China was doing beforehand, encountered limits during their visit, and had limited capacity to undertake thorough, impartial study.
Beijing has responded to the suspicions of a Wuhan lab leak by dismissing them as a conspiracy theory.
On Thursday, a representative for China’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying that “since the outbreak began, China has adopted a scientific, professional, serious, and responsible approach in identifying the virus’s origins.”