The origins of COVID-19 may never be known, say US Intelligence agencies

By Bethany Dawson

US Intelligence agencies have said that the true origin of the COVID-19 pandemic may never be known. 

In a declassified report released on October 29th, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) stated two possible causes of the virus, a laboratory-associated incident or an animal infection that spread to humans. 

Entitled the "Updated Assessment of COVID-19 Origins," the report gathered analysis from the US Intelligence Community, a coalition of 18 agencies and organizations, including the ODNI.

It ruled out that the virus was used as a secret bioweapon and said that the virus was probably not genetically engineered. 

Infographic from the ODNI report on COVID-19
Infographic from the ODNI report on COVID-19

Advocates of the theory that coronvirus was manufactured as a weapon to harm "do not have direct access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology," and the report noted that the "proponents are suspected of spreading disinformation." 

However, it concluded that it is unlikely that the source of the virus will ever be confirmed without new data and information. 

The report states that four agencies had "low confidence" that COVID-19 originated with an infected animal. One agency had "moderate confidence" the pandemic started due to a laboratory mishap. 

The report responds to the Biden administration calling for an investigation into the legitimacy of the theory that a lab leak in Wuhan was the cause of the pandemic. 

In an email to Reuters, China reacted to its findings saying that intelligence agencies investigations into China's involvement in the release of the virus are a "complete political farce." 

It added that "we have been supporting science-based efforts on origins tracing, and will continue to stay actively engaged."

However, the report concluded that China was responsible for impeding the investigation, limiting the World Health Organization (WHO) investigation team's access to sites as an example.