According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the agency thinks Covid-19 “most likely” came from a “China government-controlled lab.”
He told Fox News that “the FBI has long believed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a probable lab event.”
It is the first time the FBI’s confidential assessment of how the pandemic virus arose has been confirmed in public.
However, according to scientists, there is no indication that it leaked from a lab, and judgments reached by other US government agencies diverge from those of the FBI.
Some of them have asserted, though with questionable certainty, that the virus didn’t originate in a lab but rather spread from animals to people.
The US government as a whole has not reached a consensus on the origins, according to the White House.
The lab leak idea was deemed to be “very implausible” in a joint examination by China and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2021.
A new investigation has since been requested by the WHO director-general, who stated that “all possibilities remain open and deserve more study” in response to the WHO report’s harsh criticism.
A day prior to Mr. Wray’s remarks, the US ambassador to China urged China to “be more honest” regarding the origins of Covid.
According to Mr. Wray in his interview on Tuesday, China “has been trying its best to try to impede and distort” efforts to find the origin of the worldwide pandemic.
Although the FBI has a team of experts focusing on the dangers of biological threats, he claimed that specifics of the agency’s inquiry were classified.
Beijing responded by charging Washington with “political manipulation.”
According to Mao Ning, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, the findings “have no credibility at all.”
According to some investigations, the virus may have infected humans in Wuhan, China, at the city’s seafood and wildlife market.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology, a top virus research facility that studied coronaviruses, is close to the market.
The virus was most likely caused by a lab breach in Wuhan, according to the US Department of Energy, which only reached that determination with “low confidence” a few days ago.
Several virus researchers have stated that there is no fresh evidence supporting a lab breach since that development.
According to Professor David Robertson, director of viral genomes and bioinformatics at the University of Glasgow, a natural genesis is still the more plausible option.
He stated this week that there has been a “gathering of data” that “firmly indicates to a natural genesis centred on the Huanan market in Wuhan city” (based on what is known about the biology of the virus, the near variations circulating in bats, and locations of early human cases).
According to John Kirby, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, US President Joseph Biden is in favour of “a whole-of-government effort” to figure out how Covid got started.
He said: “We’re just not there [at consensus] yet. We will brief the American people and Congress when we are ready to do that.”
With the latest spy balloon controversy, tensions between the US and China have increased.
This week, a bipartisan group of US legislators began a series of hearings on the “existential” danger posed by the Communist Party in power in China.
Human rights and the US economy’s reliance on Chinese manufacturing were major topics of discussion during the first session of the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party.