The Wuhan Institute of Virology in China's central Hubei province. (AFP)
The Wuhan Institute of Virology in China's central Hubei province. (AFP)

Biden pledges to release Covid-19 intelligence review report

There has been renewed interest in one of the theories of Covid-19 origin that the deadly pathogen may have leaked from the Wuhan lab.
UPDATED ON MAY 28, 2021 06:36 AM IST

US President Joe Biden has pledged to release the result of the intelligence community’s investigation into the origins of Covid-19, including the possibility of a leak from the Wuhan virology lab in China, unless it contains something he is “not aware of”.

Biden had on Wednesday ordered the US intelligence community to “redouble their efforts to collect and analyse information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion, and to report back to me in 90 days”.

He had added, “As part of that report, I have asked for areas of further inquiry that may be required, including specific questions for China.”

There has been renewed interest in one of the theories of the origin of Covid-19 that suggests the deadly pathogen may have leaked from the Wuhan laboratory, based on intelligence that three researchers from that institution had been sick enough to seek hospital care in November 2019, much before the first case was reported by China on December 8.

Ordering the 90-day review, Biden said on Wednesday that right after assuming office, he had sought from the American intelligence community their “most up-to-date analysis of the origins of Covid-19, including whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident”.

The intelligence community still has not reached a conclusion. Some elements in it lean towards human contact with an infected animal and one towards the lab leak theory. “The majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other,” the US president said.

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