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Covid-19: US officials consider lab leak theory as credible as natural origins narrative

AFP/Washington
Filed on July 18, 2021
AFP

US President Joe Biden to give intelligence team 90-day deadline to find answers into the virus origin.


US officials overseeing an intelligence review into the origins of Covid-19 consider the theory of virus accidentally escaping from a lab as equally plausible as the possibility that it emerged naturally in the wild.

This is a dramatic shift from a year ago when Democrats publicly ridiculed the so-call lab leak theory.

In recent months, the lab-leak theory has gained great traction pushing US President Joe Biden to give the American intelligence team a 90-day deadline to find answers into the virus origin.

According to CNN, the US intelligence community remains firmly divided over whether the virus leaked from a lab or jumped naturally from animals to humans in the wild.

Little new evidence has emerged to move the needle in one direction or another, CNN reported citing sources.

But the fact that the lab leak theory is being seriously considered by top Biden officials is noteworthy and comes amid a growing openness to the idea even though most scientists who study coronaviruses and who have investigated the origins of the pandemic say the evidence strongly supports a natural origin.

Current intelligence reinforces the belief that the virus most likely originated naturally -- from animal-human contact and was not deliberately engineered, the sources said.

But that does not preclude the possibility that the virus was the result of an accidental leak. On Thursday, Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it had been “premature” to dismiss the possibility that a lab leak had spawned the pandemic.





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