U.S. intelligence no closer to knowing COVID-19 origin in declassified report

The U.S. intelligence report said agencies are split on whether the novel coronavirus was introduced to humans at a Wuhan, China, wet market or in a lab accident. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

Oct. 30 (UPI) — The U.S. intelligence community on Friday released a full declassified version of its report on the origins of COVID-19, which indicates the Biden administration is no closer to understanding where the virus came from.

The Director of National Intelligence released a two-page summary of its findings in August, so Friday’s 17-page release does little to shed additional light on the novel coronavirus’ origins.

The report reiterates the intelligence communities’ stance that China didn’t develop the virus as a biological weapon and that the government didn’t have advance knowledge of it before the initial outbreak.

“We remain skeptical of allegations that SARS-CoV-2 was a biological weapon because they are supported by scientifically invalid claims, their proponents do not have direct access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology or their proponents are suspected of spreading disinformation,” the report said.

The U.S. intelligence community is divided between two main theories, though — that the coronavirus either came from human exposure to animals or that it was the result of an accident in a Chinese laboratory, perhaps during sampling or experimentation.

The intelligence report accused the Chinese government of impeding the global scientific community in its efforts to confidently determine how the virus first came to infect humans.

The report said it seems unlikely that the virus was human made, though analysts can’t be 100% certain of that assessment.

President Joe Biden in May asked Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to head up an investigation to discover the origins of the virus, which has, as of Friday, sickened some 45.76 million people and caused more than 741,000 deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Chinese government has blamed the spread of the virus on human contact with an infected animal in a so-called wet market in Wuhan.


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