December 5, 2023

Security guards stand outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan while members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus visit the institute in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, on February 3, 2021.

Hector Retamal | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – US intelligence announced Thursday that it was divided over the exact origin of Covid-19 in China.

“However, after reviewing all available intelligence reports and other information, the IC remains divided on the most likely origin of Covid-19. All authorities consider two hypotheses plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-related incident, ”reads the unclassified report from the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence Service.

An intelligence agency reported moderate confidence that people were infected with the virus following a lab-related incident. According to the report, four authorities said they had little confidence in the virus’ natural origins. She didn’t name the agencies.

In May, President Joe Biden ordered a closer scrutiny of the intelligence services, which he identified as two likely scenarios for the origins of Covid-19.

“Here is your current position: ‘while two elements in the IC are the [human contact] Scenario and one is more inclined to [lab leak scenario] – each with low or moderate confidence – the majority of the elements do not believe that there is enough information to assess one as more likely than the other, “said Biden at the time.

It is still unknown whether the virus leaked from a Wuhan laboratory, said NIH director Dr. Francis Collins in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday, adding that the World Health Organization’s investigation into the origin of the coronavirus had gone “backwards”.

“The extensive evidence from other perspectives says no, this was a naturally occurring virus,” said Collins. “Not to say that it couldn’t have been secretly examined at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and got out of there, we don’t know about it. But the virus itself doesn’t have the characteristics of being deliberately created by human labor.” . “

The WHO investigation was made difficult by China’s refusal to participate, says Collins.

“I think China basically refused to consider another WHO investigation and just said, ‘No, not interested,'” Collins told CNBC’s Squawk Box.

This story evolves. Please check again for updates.