According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the COVID-19 virus likely escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan.
In a report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. agency said the virus was not designed as part of a weapons program.
A recent update to the White House and members of Congress marks a change in the department’s stance on how the virus emerged. Previously, it had said it was “undecided” on how COVID would emerge.
Like the Energy Department, the FBI believes a lab leak is the most likely source of the virus, but the department added that it made that determination with “low confidence” compared with the FBI’s “medium confidence.” Year.
Four other U.S. agencies still said it was likely the result of natural transmission. The other two are still not formalized.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the report was conducted “based on new intelligence, further research into the academic literature, and consultations with experts outside the government.”
White House national security adviser Jack Sullivan said there was still a “variety of views” on the issue.
He told CNN on Sunday that President Joe Biden has repeatedly asked the intelligence community to learn as much as possible about how the pandemic started.
“President Biden specifically asked that the national labs, which are part of the Department of Energy, be included in this assessment because he wants to use all the tools to figure out what’s going on here,” Mr Sullivan said.
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Worldwide, there have been conflicting claims about whether the virus arose naturally or came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
According to a report released in 2021, the official position of the World Health Organization (WHO) is that it is “highly unlikely” that the virus came from Wuhan laboratory, but not completely ruled out.
It said the most likely explanation was that the virus originated in bats, then spread to intermediate animals and then to humans.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insisted that all possible hypotheses about the origin of the virus were on the table and called on Beijing to allow further investigation.
China has previously accused the United States of politicizing the investigation and using the country as a “scapegoat” for the pandemic.