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Covid-19 likely source of lab leak, US Department of Energy says in new report

The Covid-19 pandemic most likely originated from a lab leak, according to a classified intelligence report from the US Department of Energy.

The report, which was included in an update to a 2021 document by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines’ office, was recently provided to the White House and other lawmakers. Sources told the the wall street journal that the Department of Energy’s updated assessment is the result of new information.

The Department of Energy, which oversees a network of U.S. national labs, made its judgment with “little confidence,” the the wall street journal reported. The assessment marks a change from 2021, when the department was undecided about the origin of the virus.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan responded to the report on Sunday during an appearance on CNN State of the Union.

“Here is what I can tell you. President Biden directed, repeatedly, every element of our intelligence community to expend effort and resources to get to the bottom of this matter,” Sullivan said. “If we get any further information or information, we will share it with Congress and we will share it with the American people. But at this time, no definitive answer has emerged from the intelligence community on this matter.

A declassified intelligence report released in November 2021 previously revealed that the FBI concluded with “moderate confidence” that the pandemic began with a “laboratory accident” following a 90-day review ordered by President Biden. .

The FBI still shares that view, the report said, while four other agencies and the National Intelligence Council assess with “low confidence” that the pandemic was likely caused by natural transmission from an infected animal. Two other agencies, including the CIA, are undecided.

Several virology labs are located in Wuhan, where the pandemic began, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where bat coronaviruses have been studied.

US officials told the the wall street journal that while the Energy Department and the FBI agree that an unintentional lab leak was likely the cause of the pandemic, the two agencies made their assessment for different reasons.

While many officials once dismissed the lab leak theory, claiming instead that an outbreak at a seafood market in Wuhan, China was the source of the virus, some scientists and officials now believe the The outbreak was just one example of community spread and not where Covid -19 originated, according to the report.

A team of experts from ten countries released a report on behalf of the WHO in March 2021 stating that the virus had likely spread from animals to humans, calling the theory that the theory was “extremely unlikely”. the virus was reportedly released in a laboratory accident. The researchers said they would not recommend further investigation.

However, Peter Ben Embarek, the WHO food safety and animal disease expert who led the investigation on the origins of the new coronavirus, said in a Danish documentary months later that these Chinese colleagues had influenced the presentation of the team’s findings.

“At first, they didn’t want anything from the lab. [in the report], because it was impossible, so there was no need to waste time on that,” Ben Embarek said. “We insisted on including it, because it was part of the whole question of the origin of the virus.”

THE the wall street journal the report comes a month after House Republicans formed a select subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic to investigate the origins of Covid-19 and other aspects of the pandemic.

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