New U.S. Report on COVID Origins Refutes Wuhan Lab Leak Theory
MONDAY, June 26, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. intelligence officials have released a report that rejects some points made by those who say the new coronavirus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China.
The report was issued Friday in response to a Congressional bill that gave agencies 90 days to declassify intelligence garnered about the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
The new report angered some Republicans who say the administration is still withholding classified information and researchers are not being forthcoming, the Associated Press reported.
John Ratcliffe, U.S. director of national intelligence under President Donald Trump, accused the Biden administration of "continued obfuscation. The lab leak is the only theory supported by science, intelligence and common sense," the AP reported
Four agencies believe the virus was transferred from animals to humans, and two agencies -- the Energy Department and the FBI -- believe the virus leaked from a lab. The CIA and another agency have remained silent, the AP said.
But the new report says U.S. intelligence "has no information, however, indicating that any WIV genetic engineering work has involved SARS-CoV-2, a close progenitor, or a backbone virus that is closely related enough to have been the source of the pandemic.”
Reports of lab researchers becoming sick with respiratory symptoms in the fall of 2019 are also inconclusive, the report added.
U.S. intelligence, the report said, "continues to assess that this information neither supports nor refutes either hypothesis of the pandemic’s origins because the researchers’ symptoms could have been caused by a number of diseases and some of the symptoms were not consistent with COVID-19," the AP reported.
The Republican chairs of the House Intelligence Committee and a select subcommittee on the pandemic said they had information favoring the lab leak theory.
Alina Chan, a molecular biologist who has argued the virus may have started in the Wuhan lab, said the public version of the report did not include the names of researchers who became sick or other details mandated by Congress, the AP reported.
"It’s getting very difficult to believe that the government is not trying to hide what they know about #OriginOfCovid when you see a report like this that contains none of the requested info," Chan tweeted.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on the history of coronavirus.
SOURCE: Associated Press