A report by US Republican lawmakers said “the preponderance of evidence” proves the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic leaked from a Chinese research facility – a conclusion that has not been reached by US intelligence agencies.
The report, released on Monday, also cited “substantial evidence” that scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) – aided by US experts and Chinese and US government funds – modified coronaviruses to infect humans. were working to do, and such manipulation can be hidden.
Representative Mike McCall, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released a report from the panel’s Republican staff. It urged a bipartisan probe into the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 4.4 million people worldwide.
China denies a genetically modified coronavirus leaked from the facility in Wuhan where the first COVID-19 cases were detected in 2019, a leading but unproven theory among some experts. Beijing also denies the allegations of cover-up.
Other experts suspect that the pandemic was caused by an animal virus transmitted to humans at a seafood market near WIV.
“We now believe the time has come to completely rule out the wet market as the source,” the report said. “We also believe that the preponderance of the evidence proves that the virus leaked from WIV and occurred sometime before September 12, 2019.”
What it called new and little-known information about safety protocols at the lab, the report said, includes a July 2019 request for a $1.5 million overhaul of the facility’s hazardous waste treatment system, which will last two years. was less than
In April, the top US intelligence agency said it agreed with the scientific consensus that the virus was not human-borne or genetically modified.
US President Joe Biden in May ordered US intelligence agencies to expedite their search for the origins of the virus and report back in 90 days.
A source familiar with the current intelligence assessment said that the US intelligence community has not reached a conclusion whether the virus came from animals or WIV.