Biden urges new investigation into origin of coronavirus
Washington, May 27: Joe Biden says US intelligence agencies are unsure whether it was transferred from an animal or whether it leaked from a lab.US President Joe Biden on Wednesday called for a deeper investigation into the origins of the pandemic.
In a statement, Biden said the majority of the US intelligence community had "coalesced" around two likely scenarios: that the virus was transmitted to humans via contact with an infected animal, or it emerged from a lab accident.Biden said there was not "sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other.
"He added that two of 18 intelligence agencies lean toward the animal link and one toward the lab idea, "each with low or moderate confidence."Biden said US national laboratories should assist with the investigation and called on China to cooperate with the international probes. He expected results within 90 days."The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence," Biden said.
Suspicions aboundSome administration officials have harbored strong doubts about the lab leak theory. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a White House coronavirus adviser, said Wednesday that he and other scientists "believe that the most likely scenario is that this was a natural occurrence, but no one knows that 100% for sure.""And since there's a lot of concern, a lot of speculation and since no one absolutely knows that, I believe we do need the kind of investigation where there's open transparency and all the information that' available, to be made available, to scrutinize," said Fauci at a Senate hearing.
Andy Slavitt, Biden's senior adviser for the virus, said Tuesday, "we need a completely transparent process from China; we need the WHO (World Health Organization) to assist in that matter. We don't feel like we have that now."Biden's announcement comes after recent reports said some researchers at a virology lab in Wuhan, where the pandemic is suspected to have started in December 2019, were ill one month earlier.Unsure after WHO investigationThe WHO launched its own investigation earlier this year, but could not determine the animal source.
But there were concerns that China was not as cooperative with the investigation as they could have been.The team determined that a lab leak was "extremely unlikely."The virus has appeared in virtually every country around the world, killing more than 3 million people, according to Johns Hopkins University.kbd/aw (AP, Reuters)