COVID-19 May Have Leaked From Wuhan Lab, US Report Concludes
A report into the origins of where COVID-19 started has concluded it is possible the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan.
Conducted by a US government national laboratory, the report found it was ‘plausible’ the virus may have stemmed from a lab in the Chinese city, and therefore needs further investigation.
California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory prepared the study in May of last year, and has since generated interest from the Biden Administration.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Biden has asked for a more definitive conclusion to the question of where COVID began in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, US intelligence has been focusing on two possible scenarios: the idea that coronavirus came from human contact with an infected animal, or that it stemmed from a lab leak. They’re yet to come to a conclusion, however.
People close to the national laboratory’s study told the WSJ the report has been conducted by Lawrence Livermore’s ‘Z Division’ – a programme that was established in 1965 to provide US intelligence with technical assessments.
Lawrence Livermore’s investigations into the origins of the SARS-COV-2 virus reportedly used genomic analysis. This is where scientists look into the genetic makeup of viruses to try to determine how they evolved and spread in the population.
It’s believed the report was one of the first US investigations to be conducted that looked into the possibility the virus came from a Chinese lab.
Despite these reports, Chinese officials have continuously denied that COVID began in the country. They’ve since been accused by the US of not being transparent enough.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Chinese government still hasn’t ‘given [them] the transparency [they] need’.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology itself has also denied the virus stemmed from its lab, and claimed none of its staff have contracted COVID.
In light of these concerns, Mike Ryan, director of the World Health Organization’s emergencies programme, said the WHO ‘doesn’t have the power to compel anyone’ to be more open, Reuters reports.
‘We fully expect cooperation, input and support of all of our member states in that endeavour,’ he added at a press conference last week.
However, Ryan also announced the WHO plans on taking its investigations into COVID’s beginnings to the ‘next level’.
Featured Image credit: PA Images
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