U.S. Energy Department says COVID may have originated from a lab leak.
As per Wall Street Journal, this is the claim of a newly updated United States Department of Energy report.
The new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) had 1st emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2019. It spread fast throughout the world, taking the lives of about 7 million people. It also caused turmoil in the worldwide economy because most countries closed borders and issued lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus.
The judgment for the latest report came out of new intelligence. However, it was made with “low confidence”. The US energy department, at present, oversees several US laboratories. This included some that have advanced biological research.
What the US energy department’s latest findings show
The latest findings show a change in the idea of the US energy department. The department said that previously it was not decided how the virus emerged. However, the officials declined to elaborate on the intelligence that prompted the department to change its view.
It now joins the FBI or the Federal Bureau of Investigation and says that the virus may have spread after a mishap at any laboratory. The FBI had reached a conclusion in 2021 with “moderate confidence”. 4 US intelligence agencies now believe with “low confidence” that the COVID-19 pandemic happened through natural transmission, but two others remain undecided.
Now, the agencies have differing analyses, but the update reaffirmed of an existing consensus that COVID was not the outcome of a Chinese biological weapons program. The people that read the classified report said to the newspaper. The report, of five pages, was prepared for the White House and also for its members of Congress. Jake Sullivan, the White House National Security Adviser, said there were still different views on the issue.
Jake Sullivan said on CNN that Joe Biden repeatedly asked the intelligence community to try to find out how the pandemic started. The US President requested that the national labs (part of the Energy Department) be brought into the assessment. This is because he would like to put every tool to use to figure out what happened.
Mid-February, the WHO or the World Health Organisation promised to do whatever possible to discover the virus’s origins.
After further delay, a WHO team traveled to Wuhan in China in 2021 to visit the Huanan market. Here, the 1st cluster of cases came up, and it was closed soon after the virus started spreading. Working with Chinese scientists, they visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a biosecurity lab. Here, the researchers were working on bats.
However, the investigation had already faced criticism for lack of transparency and for not sufficiently evaluating this lab-leak theory. It said the most possible explanation was that the virus originated in a bat. Then, the virus crossed to an intermediary animal and then to humans.
China accused the US of politicizing the investigation. China also accused of ‘scapegoating’ the country by terming the virus the “Chinese virus”. Finding the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is now seen as very crucial to fight better or prevent another pandemic. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO chief insisted that all hypotheses are on the table, and he called on China to provide further access for investigation.