Following a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March, the United States has made public part of its investigation into the origin of the coronavirus.
The origin of SARS-CoV-2 remains unresolved: there are two hypotheses, but scientists have not been able to decide whether a coronavirus almost identical to SARS-CoV-2 occurred naturally, or that the virus, escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology which stores and studies coronaviruses.
On August 24, U.S. President Joe Biden received from the U.S. Intelligence Community, a committee of 18 U.S. intelligence agencies, the findings of an investigative report on the origin of the coronavirus that was requested in May 2021. The findings of this report were declassified in a short memo on August 27. One thing is certain: tracing the origins of coronaviruses is a difficult task.
It is neither a biological weapon nor a genetically modified virus.
After reviewing all available intelligence reports and other information, the intelligence community remains divided on the most likely origin of Covid-19. This is probably the key point of this report. Although the published report does not go into detail, a review of the available data does not support either hypothesis with certainty. Instead, the intelligence community is of the opinion that the coronavirus was not created in a laboratory for use as a biological weapon and has not been genetically modified.
The Inteligence community considers both hypotheses to be plausible.
In the World Health Organization (WHO) study, the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 was considered most likely a result of a zoonotic outbreak, and that a laboratory accident was the least likely. the US intelligence community considers both hypotheses plausible. As a result of the study, 4 agencies considered the zoonotic scenario to be the most likely, but with a low level of confidence. In that case, the implicated coronavirus has more than 99% similarity to SARS-CoV-2. Another Intelligence agency favored the laboratory accident scenarios with a medium confidence level. For example, someone could have been contaminated while handling animals or picking up viruses.
So far no smoking gun to support either of the hypothesis. However, we all agree that the lack of epidemiological data, early patient samples, and cooperation from the Wuhan Institute of Virology complicates the investigation and makes it impossible to agree on a single hypothesis. Without China’s cooperation, already requested by the WHO and reiterated by the United States in the conclusions of the report, there is little chance of the study moving forward.
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