The US intelligence agency cannot trace Covid-19's origin


After 90 days of inquiry ordered by the president, the U.S. intelligence agency came to an uncertain conclusion regarding the origin of the Covid-19 virus, according to a summary of the probe published publicly on Friday.

The intelligence community is unsure about which of the two competing hypotheses is more likely to be true: whether the virus was spread via a lab breach or by natural transmission from animal to human, the intelligence community said. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence's report states that the two leading hypotheses are credible, based on the agreement of the intelligence services.

The intelligence community said that "all agencies agree that two possibilities are likely: exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-related event."

After Vice President Biden requested that the intelligence community "redouble" its efforts to discover the origins of the Covid-19 epidemic, an unclassified assessment was published on Friday. The inquiry was summarized for Biden before the release of the report.

According to a statement from Biden after the summary was published on Friday, "This report may be finished, but our efforts to uncover the roots of this epidemic will not." "We will do all in our power to investigate the origins of this deadly epidemic and take all possible measures to make sure it never happens again."

In his remarks, Biden chastised China for failing to be more open in supporting the probe and the intelligence community stated that China would probably have to cooperate to arrive at a clearer judgment.

"China knows the genesis of this epidemic," Biden stated, "and yet from the start, the Chinese government has attempted to block access to it by international investigators and global public health professionals."

Though the study could not resolve the question of where the virus originated, it did disprove certain hypotheses. It was also determined that Covid-19 was not intended to be a biological weapon, despite claims by Republican politicians last year to the contrary. The study claims that most authorities are uncertain if Covid-19 was genetically modified, whether or not it was created using biotechnology.

Disputes over origin hypotheses

Covid was determined to have been produced by natural exposure to an animal by four intelligence community agencies and the National Intelligence Council, according to the report, who all gave it a low level of confidence. A laboratory-associated event, according to one agency, "possibly involving research, animal handling, or sampling by the Wuhan Institute" was the source of the initial human infection, which is determined with moderate confidence.

Without further information, three different agencies said that they were unable to come to a consensus on either interpretation.

In the secret study, according to a person who was briefed on its contents, the CIA was one of the agencies that did not take a strong stance one way or the other.

It is estimated that the virus first infected people via a small-scale exposure that happened no later than November 2019, according to the intelligence assessment.

In the summary, it is said that additional material from the early days of the pandemic would be required for the intelligence community to offer "a more conclusive explanation for the genesis of Covid-19."

It was written by the intelligence community that "the IC, as well as the worldwide scientific community, lacks clinical samples or a full grasp of epidemiological data from the first Covid-19 cases."

The intelligence community's capacity to get information about the virus's origins was hindered by China's reluctance to cooperate... As the intelligence community noted, "China's assistance would most likely be required to draw a definitive conclusion on the origins of Covid-19." However, "Beijing continues to obstruct the worldwide probe, refuses to provide material, and accuses other nations, including the United States," according to the Associated Press.

Chinese authorities "did not have foreknowledge of the virus before the first epidemic," according to the study, which does hold China responsible.

The origins window is ending

It was reported earlier this month that intelligence agencies were combing through a massive database of genetic data derived from samples of a virus collected at a facility in Wuhan, which some authorities think may have served as the genesis of the epidemic.

Officials told CNN this week that the intelligence services had switched sides on which hypothesis was more probable as late as last week, even though the theory was still under consideration.

Biden launched the investigation into the origins of Covid-19 earlier this year in response to growing calls for a thorough investigation following a US intelligence report that found several researchers at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in November 2019 and were forced to be admitted to a hospital.

After the 90-day review period ended last month, a bipartisan group of senators expressed their desire for Biden to continue his investigation into the virus's origins after the review period ended.

However, the window of opportunity for discovering the pandemic's roots may be closing. The World Health Organization commissioned a team of specialists to report on Wednesday that the chance to determine where the epidemic started is dwindling as people's immune responses wane and any evidence in the corpses of animals fades into obscurity.

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