The U.S. intelligence community is divided over the possibility that Covid-19 may have emerged due to a lab accident, according to a senior official.
Amanda Schoch, assistant director of national intelligence for strategic communications, said the U.S. intelligence community “doesn’t know exactly where, when, or how” the Sars-Cov-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, was initially transmitted.
But he said the U.S. intelligence community, which includes 18 organizations, had “come together around two probable scenarios.”
An element of the intelligence community leans toward a theory that the virus came out of a lab accident, only with low or moderate confidence, he said.
Two other elements leaned toward assessments that emerge naturally from human contact with infected animals – also with low or moderate confidence.
“[T]most of the elements in the [intelligence community] I don’t think there is enough information to evaluate one to be more likely than the other, ”he said.
Thursday’s statement does little to clarify one renewed debate on any alleged role played in the launch of the pandemic by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a laboratory in China that had done research on bats carrying coronavirus.
China has repeatedly denied that the virus has left the lab, but the United States is among those organizing in Beijing to offer greater cooperation with international efforts to investigate the origins of the pandemic.
U.S. President Joe Biden has asked U.S. intelligence agencies to “redouble“His efforts to investigate the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and refer to it in 90 days, amid renewed questions about the possibility of laboratory leaks.
A team of scientists by the World Health Organization concluded in March that it was highly unlikely that the disease would escape the Wuhan laboratory, although the WHO admitted after its investigation, facilitated by Beijing, left some questions unanswered. unresolved.
The WHO said Wednesday that more studies were needed in a number of areas, including the hypothesis of laboratory leakage, and that it was constantly re-examining the recommendations from its report.
Schoch said the U.S. intelligence community has continued to examine all available evidence, consider different perspectives and collect and aggressively analyze new information to identify the origin of the virus.