US intelligence agencies say that they have found no direct link which suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic originated from an incident at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. A four-page report which was declassified on Friday stated that while intelligence agencies could not rule out the possibility of a laboratory leak, it however, hadn’t been able to discover the origins of the disease that put the entire world under lockdown, news agency Reuters reported. It said that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and another agency aren’t able to determine the origins “as both (natural and lab) hypotheses rely on significant assumptions”.
“The Central Intelligence Agency and another agency remain unable to determine the precise origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, as both (natural and lab) hypotheses rely on significant assumptions or face challenges with conflicting reporting,” Reuters quoted the report by Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) as saying.
The agencies had carried out extensive work on Coronavirus at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), however, they haven’t found evidence of a specific incident that could have led to the outbreak.
The report says US 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”, Reuters reported.
The report was released at the orders of the US Congress which in March passed a bill giving the US intelligence 90 days to declassify intelligence related to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as per Associated Press.
The new report has angered several Republicans, who claim that the administration is wrongly withholding classified information and researchers accused the US of not being forthcoming.
John Ratcliffe, who served as the director of national intelligence under former President Donald Trump accused the Biden administration of “continued obfuscation.”
“The lab leak is the only theory supported by science, intelligence, and common sense,” Ratcliffe said in a statement.
As per AP, four agencies believe that the virus was transferred from animals to humans, while the Energy Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) believe it to be a lab leak. Meanwhile, the CIA and another agency haven’t given their assessment.
Since the pandemic, the Wuhan Institute of Virology has faced intense scrutiny for its previous research into bat coronaviruses and its alleged security lapses.
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