US intelligence agencies do not expect to determine Covid origins

US intelligence agencies do not expect to determine Covid origins
Four of the five agencies involved in the report believe with “low confidence” that the virus initially spread from an animal

US intelligence agencies say that they will likely not have enough evidence to determine the origins of Covid-19.

The details of their investigation into the provenance of the virus were documented in a paper issued by the Director of National Intelligence, the culmination of a 90-day review ordered by Joe Biden.

According to The Associated Press, the participating intelligence agencies were in conflict over the origins of the virus, but noted that analysts did not believe Covid-19 was created as a bioweapon. Most of the agencies were in agreement that the virus was not genetically engineered.

Chinese reluctance to cooperate with investigations has further complicated the analysis. Coronaviruses kept at the Wuhan Institute of Virology – the same city where the virus first began to spread – have been the subject of endless speculation since the pandemic began.

Mr Biden called for the review in response to growing speculation that the virus somehow escaped the lab. That theory was a favorite of former President Donald Trump and his supporters. Mr Trump faced harsh criticism for the US’s initial response to the virus, which left more than a hundred million out of work and hundreds of thousands dead.

China has pushed back on allegations that it had anything to do with the spread of the virus, which killed 5 million people across the world.

A senior official speaking to the AP said they were not close to determining the virus’s true origins.

“We don’t think we’re one or two reports away from being able to understand it,” the official said.

According to the report, the Wuhan Institute of Virology “previously created chimeras, or combinations, of SARS-like coronaviruses, but this information does not provide insight into whether SARS Cov-2 was genetically engineered by the WIV.”

Reports circulated that researchers at the lab sought medical treatment for respiratory illnesses as early as November 2019, a month before the virus began to spread in earnest in Wuhan, but the analysis found that the information is “not diagnostic of the pandemic’s origins.”

Four participating agencies involved in the review reported with “low confidence” that the virus began when it jumped from an animal to a human, as was initially theorised.

A fifth agency reported with “moderate confidence” that the first human infection was actually tied to exposure in a lab.

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