- US intelligence could not determine the origins of the novel coronavirus after a 90-day review.
- It said the two most plausible explanations were exposure to an infected animal or a lab incident.
- In order to make a conclusion, the intelligence community said it would need more info from China.
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The US intelligence community was unable to identify the origins of the coronavirus after a 90-day review exploring the topic, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Friday.
“The IC assesses that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, probably emerged and infected humans through an initial, small-scale exposure that occurred no later than November 2019 with the first known cluster of COVID-19 cases arising in Wuhan, China in December 2019,” the unclassified summary said.
The review did determine that the virus was not developed as a “biological weapon” and that it was probably not genetically engineered.
Without more information that would allow US intelligence to trace the virus back to a specific animal, or to learn what the lab was doing, investigators said they couldn’t come to a definitive conclusion. To gather this information, the US would “most likely” need China’s cooperation.
In response, President Joe Biden said in a statement: “Our efforts to understand the origins of this pandemic will not rest.”
He also called out China’s lack of transparency and efforts to prevent international investigations into the origins of the virus. He said the US would continue to work with “like-minded partners” to press China for more information, including providing relevant data and evidence, in hopes that an answer is found.
“To this day, the PRC continues to reject calls for transparency and withhold information, even as the toll of this pandemic continue to rise,” Biden said. “We needed this information rapidly, from the PRC, while the pandemic was still new … Responsible nations do not shirk these kinds of responsibilities to the rest of the world.”
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