COVID-19 may have leaked from Wuhan lab-U.S. report
London, June 8, 2021 (AltAfrica)-A report on the origins of COVID-19 by a U.S. government national laboratory concluded the hypothesis claiming the virus leaked from a Chinese lab in Wuhan is plausible and deserves further investigation, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the classified document.
The study was prepared in May 2020 by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and was referred by the State Department when it conducted an inquiry into the pandemic’s origins during the final months of the Trump administration, the report added.
It is attracting fresh interest in Congress now that President Biden has ordered that U.S. intelligence agencies report to him within 90 days on how the virus emerged.
Mr. Biden said that U.S. intelligence has focused on two scenarios—whether the coronavirus came from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.
People familiar with the study said that it was prepared by Lawrence Livermore’s “Z Division,” which is its intelligence arm. Lawrence Livermore has considerable expertise on biological issues. Its assessment drew on genomic analysis of the SARS-COV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, they said.
Scientists analyse the genetic makeup of viruses to try to determine how they evolved and spread in the population. Proponents on both sides of the debate over the origins of Covid-19 have cited such analysis to try to make their case.
CNN reports that the document has been quietly available to key lawmakers on Capitol Hill since last year, according to two congressional sources
Sinclair Broadcast Group was first to report on the document’s existence.
One year after it was first issued, the report matters now not so much for what it reveals, but because it offered some early support for the theory that the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan at a time when, at least publicly, the intelligence community was affirming that it believed the virus was not “manmade” and likely originated naturally.
Meanwhile, two former officials close to the Trump administration’s investigations into the pandemic’s origins say that the Livermore report wasn’t discovered by policymakers probing the matter until months after its production — raising the spectre for some former officials of so-called “deep state” career bureaucrats inappropriately burying information that validated the political pursuits of the Trump administration.
Still, other congressional officials familiar with the report — even those who support an investigation into the lab leak theory — say the Energy committee Republicans are touting its findings now as a purely political ploy aimed at validating Trump, whose championing of the lab-leak theory these people believe politicized the search for Covid-19’s origins.