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Covid Bioweapon Claims ‘Scientifically Invalid’, US Intelligence Reports Says | Coronavirus

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Allegations that the Covid-19 virus was designed as a biological weapon – a theory circulated by some high-ranking Republicans – are based on “scientifically invalid claims” whose supporters “are suspected of spreading disinformation”, have reported US intelligence agencies.

Most of the 17 US agencies also agree that the virus has not been genetically modified, while observing that it is becoming increasingly difficult to detect signs of such tampering. However, the intelligence community is still divided over whether the virus spread through animal-to-human transmission or as a result of a lab accident, concluding that this may never be known unless ‘a spectacular breakthrough in Chinese cooperation.

A summary of the findings was first released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in August, but on Friday ODNI released a more comprehensive version of the study, explaining the findings of their findings. agencies.

The theory that the virus, known as Sars-CoV-2, was a biological weapon, which was spread by Senator Tom Cotton and other diehard Republicans, is dismissed at the start of the ODNI report.

“We remain skeptical of claims that SARS-CoV-2 was a biological weapon as they are supported by scientifically invalid claims, their supporters do not have direct access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) , or their supporters are suspected of spreading disinformation. The study said.

On the issue of genetic engineering, the report says most intelligence analysts believe the virus was by no means man-made, although this assessment is calibrated as low confidence. As of August of this year, there were no signs of genetic signatures which are usually telltale signs of engineering, he said, but pointed to academic studies that “certain genetic engineering techniques can make genetically modified viruses indistinguishable from natural viruses ”.

Four intelligence agencies assessed “with low confidence” that the virus spread from animals to humans through natural interaction. The assessment was based on the generally accepted conclusion that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) appeared to have been taken by surprise by the new virus and had struggled to identify it.

“They also see the potential that a lab worker has been inadvertently infected while collecting samples from unknown animals as being less likely than infection from many hunters, farmers, traders and others who have frequent and natural contact with animals, ”the study said.

A US agency, not named in the study but reported to be the Defense Intelligence Agency, believes “with moderate confidence” that the outbreak was the result of a laboratory accident at the WIV or elsewhere, the theory promoted by supporters by Donald Trump.

As evidence, he pointed out that “the closest known relatives of Sars-CoV-2 in bats have been identified in Yunnan province, and researchers bringing samples to laboratories provide a plausible link between these habitats. and the city ”.

The report notes that the WIV “previously created chimeras, or combinations, of Sars-like coronaviruses, but this information does not reveal whether Sars-CoV-2 was genetically modified by the WIV.”

The ODNI report said a more definitive account of the origins of the virus would likely be impossible without greater Chinese cooperation, but it is not optimistic that this will happen, noting China’s efforts so far. present to block further investigation by the World Health Organization.

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