YAHOO! NEWS – An unclassified version of an intelligence community assessment on the origins of COVID-19 released Friday afternoon shows that various agencies still don’t agree on whether the pandemic began from a laboratory incident in Wuhan, China, or was caused by a natural crossover from animals to humans.
In the spring, President Biden ordered the intelligence community to conduct a 90-day review looking at the pandemic’s origins in China, amid growing debate and questions on the issue.
The virus has now killed some 5 million people around the world, and infected almost a quarter of a billion, while disrupting global economies.
The report, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, states”
“After examining all available intelligence reporting and other information, though, the IC remains divided on the most likely origin of COVID-19 … ” (cont. below)
“The claim made by Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul is that NIH helped enable gain-of-function research that could have started the pandemic. Fauci has argued that the work the lab conducted with those funds did not meet the criteria for gain-of-function research.”
“All agencies assess that two hypotheses are plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-associated incident.”
The report, however, appears to discount the idea that the virus was engineered in a laboratory as a weapon.
“Most IC analysts assess with low confidence that SARS-CoV-2 was not genetically engineered.”
The intelligence community also appears largely skeptical that the virus, even if it did escape from a lab, was the result of what is known as “gain-of-function” research, in which scientists boost a virus’s capabilities in order to study its behavior.
Yet even on this point, analysts at the various agencies appear uncertain. The report states:
“No IC analysts assess that SARS-CoV-2 was the result of laboratory adaptation, although some analysts do not have enough information to make this determination,” … READ MORE.