A British intelligence source told a news outlet that it’s “feasible” that the COVID-19 pandemic began with a coronavirus leak from a Chinese research laboratory, according to a published report.
Intelligence agencies are investigating a possible leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which Beijing has insisted was not the source of the global pandemic, The Sunday Times of London reported.
The paper cited an unnamed source “familiar with UK involvement in the investigation” as saying there could be evidence that points officials to one theory or another, but it will be hard to ever know the true origins of the virus.
“The Chinese will lie either way,” the source said.
“I don’t think we will ever know.”
According to Fox News, the United States and Britain have both asked the World Health Organization to take a deeper look into the origins of COVID-19 and make another visit to China, where the first cases were detected.
A March report from the WHO and Chinese experts said that the most likely scenario was that the coronavirus came from bats via a different animal and that the idea that it came from a lab was “extremely unlikely,” Fox reported.
Last week, the U.S. diplomatic mission in Geneva called the first phase of the study “insufficient and inconclusive” and called for a “timely, transparent, evidence-based and expert-led Phase 2 study, including in the People’s Republic of China,” The Associated Press reported.
The Biden administration has stepped up calls for China to be more transparent about the outbreak.
President Joe Biden has said that the intelligence community has not yet determined how the pandemic began, but officials are expected to deliver an updated report within the next few months.
Since the start of the pandemic, Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have floated the theory that the virus emerged from a laboratory accident.
Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gotlieb told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that accidental lab leaks are not uncommon.
“These kinds of lab leaks happen all the time,” @ScottGottliebMD says of COVID-19 lab-leak theory. “Even here in the United States, we’ve had mishaps. In China, the last six known outbreaks of SARS-1 have been out of labs.” pic.twitter.com/NX2iWBIdBx
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) May 30, 2021
“These kinds of lab leaks happen all the time, actually,” Gottlieb said.
“Even here in the United States, we’ve had mishaps, and in China, the last six known outbreaks of SARS-1 have been out of labs, including the last known outbreak, which was a pretty extensive outbreak that China initially wouldn’t disclose that it came out of a lab.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has recently said he wanted to investigate the possible lab leak theory, a position he denounced a year ago when Trump made the same argument.
“No, actually. … No, I’m not convinced about that,” Fauci told Politifact of the coronavirus’ natural origins.
“I think that we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we find out to the best of our ability exactly what happened.”
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