The US intelligence community still believes it is plausible that Covid-19 originated in a laboratory or in the wild, a conclusion that has been consistent for months, according to newly declassified information released Friday evening.
“All agencies continue to assess that both a natural and laboratory-associated origin remain plausible hypotheses to explain the first human infection,” a report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence states.
The report was released after Congress passed a law in March requiring the intelligence community to declassify intelligence related to the origin of the virus and any links to a lab in Wuhan, China.
Every US intelligence agency still unanimously agrees that Covid-19 was not developed as a biological weapon but there remains no consensus as to the virus’ origins, according to the ODNI report.
And almost all American intelligence agencies also assess that the virus itself was not genetically engineered, the report states.
“Most agencies assess that SARS-CoV-2 was not laboratory-adapted; some are unable to make a determination. All IC agencies assess that SARS-CoV-2 was not developed as a biological weapon,” according to the ODNI report. “Variations in IC analytic views on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic largely stem from differences in how agencies weigh intelligence reporting and scientific publications and intelligence and scientific gaps.”
At the same time, the intelligence community remains divided on the most likely origins of Covid-19, as CNN has previously reported. US intelligence agencies remain split over whether it resulted from a lab leak or occurred in the wild.
It also details the US intelligence community’s understanding of why several researchers at WIV fell ill in the fall of 2019, immediately before the outbreak of Covid-19 – saying this information “neither supports nor refutes either hypothesis of the pandemic’s origins because the researchers’ symptoms could have been caused by a number of diseases and some of the symptoms were not consistent with COVID-19.”