A report on the origins of Covid-19 by a US government laboratory concluded that the hypothesis of a virus leak from a Chinese lab in Wuhan is plausible and deserves further investigation, reports say.
The classified document was prepared in May 2020 by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and was referred to by the State Department when it conducted an inquiry into the pandemic’s origins during the final months of the Trump administration.
Lawrence Livermore’s assessment drew on a genomic analysis of the virus, the Wall St Journal said.
President Joe Biden said last month he had ordered aides to find answers to the origin of the virus. US intelligence agencies are considering two likely scenarios – that the virus resulted from a laboratory accident or that it emerged from human contact with an infected animal – but they have not come to a conclusion, Biden said.
A still-classified US intelligence report circulated during the Trump administration alleged that three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology became so ill in November 2019 that they sought hospital care, US government sources have said.
US officials have accused China of not being transparent about the virus’ origins, a charge Beijing has denied.
Separately, Mike Ryan, a top World Health Organization official, said yesterday the WHO cannot compel China to divulge more data on Covid-19’s origins, while adding it will propose studies needed to take understanding of where the virus emerged to the “next level.”
Earlier this month, American infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci called on China to release the medical records of nine people whose ailments might provide vital clues into whether Covid-19 first emerged as the result of a lab leak.