Declassified COVID origins report released

(NewsNation) — The highly-anticipated declassified COVID-19 origins report has been released to members of Congress on Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The report covers “any and all information” relating to the potential lab theory related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the report’s executive summary, it outlines the U.S. Intelligence Community’s understanding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, its capabilities, and the actions of its personnel leading up to and in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement from the ODNI reads:

“The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) today released ‘The Potential Links Between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Origin of the COVID-19 Pandemic’ report.

The COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023 required the Intelligence Community to declassify information relating to potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ODNI submitted the report to Congress, and it can be viewed here.”

According to the declassified report, U.S. intelligence agencies found no direct evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic stemmed from an incident at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The report said the U.S. intelligence community still could not rule out the possibility that the virus came from a laboratory, however, and had not been able to discover the origins of the pandemic.

“The Central Intelligence Agency and another agency remain unable to determine the precise origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, as both (natural and lab) hypotheses rely on significant assumptions or face challenges with conflicting reporting,” the ODNI report said.

Wuhan, the Chinese city where COVID-19 was first detected, is home to several labs involved in collecting and studying coronaviruses, fueling theories that the virus may have leaked from one.

In February, the Wall Street Journal reported the U.S. Department of Energy had assessed “with low confidence” that the virus had leaked from a lab. But others in the U.S. intelligence community disagree, believing it more likely the virus first came from animals. Experts say the true origin of the pandemic may not be known for many years — if ever.

The coronavirus’ genetic code is strikingly similar to that of bat coronaviruses, and many scientists suspect COVID-19 jumped into humans either directly from a bat or via an intermediary animal like pangolins, ferrets or raccoon dogs.

Efforts to determine the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic have been complicated by factors including the massive surge of human infections in the pandemic’s first two years and an increasingly bitter political dispute.

Check back for updates as this is a developing story.


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