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US Intelligence Suggests Dual Origins of COVID-19 Pandemic Amidst Controversy

China, on the other hand, has firmly rejected the theory that the virus escaped from a laboratory

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UNITED STATES: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has put forth a suggestion that the origins of the pandemic may have both natural and laboratory elements. While most US intelligence agencies agree that the virus is not genetically engineered or a result of laboratory manipulation, the discussion surrounding the origins of the pandemic has remained a contentious topic within the United States.

China, on the other hand, has firmly rejected the theory that the virus escaped from a laboratory, with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) being at the center of attention in an ODNI report. 

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Following the approval of a 90-day period by Congress for US intelligence agencies to disclose their knowledge of the WIV, the report was released, stating that the Central Intelligence Agency and another agency were unable to definitively determine the exact origin of the COVID-19 pandemic due to conflicting reporting and significant assumptions.

While four US intelligence agencies lean towards the belief that the virus was transmitted from animals to humans, the FBI and the Energy Department hold the view that it originated from a laboratory. The broader US intelligence community maintains that the virus can have emerged from a laboratory.

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The report disputes the notion that COVID-19 was created as a biological weapon, a conclusion shared by US intelligence organizations. It suggests that the World Health Organization (WIV) and the Chinese military collaborated on coronavirus research for the purpose of public health, specifically ruling out research on infections that could have resulted in the emergence of COVID-19. 

The study also highlights the creation of “chimeras” by WIV researchers and the use of reverse genetic cloning methods as potential indicators of undisclosed modifications.

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Furthermore, the report raises concerns that some scientists may not have adhered to adequate biosafety measures before the pandemic. However, US intelligence agencies have not identified any specific incident at the Wuhan lab that could be attributed to the outbreak of COVID-19. 

In late 2019, a few researchers experienced illnesses, but the symptoms exhibited were inconsistent with those associated with COVID-19 and could have been caused by various other diseases.

The Biden administration has faced accusations of “continuing obfuscation” in response to a report by John Ratcliffe, the former US Director of National Intelligence under the Trump administration. Ratcliffe argued that the lab-leak theory is supported by scientific evidence, intelligence findings, and common sense.

It is worth noting that the WIV is located merely 40 minutes away from the Huanan wet market, where the initial cluster of COVID-19 cases was reported in 2019. While a joint investigation conducted by China and the World Health Organization in 2021 deemed the lab-leak theory “extremely unlikely,” it faced criticism for failing to provide definitive answers and instead creating further uncertainties. Some scientists speculate that the true origins of COVID-19 may forever remain undisclosed.

Also Read: Enforcement Directorate Conducts Raids in Mumbai over Alleged Financial Irregularities in BMC’s COVID-19 Care Centers


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