Back in May, US President Joe Biden ordered aides to work to resolve disputes among intelligence agencies and scientists examining the possibility of a laboratory accident in China, as well as that the virus originated naturally with animals, such as bats or birds. A 90-day intelligence review the president ordered is due later today, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, with the release of unclassified portions likely to take a few days longer.
Reuters reports that people familiar with intelligence reporting have said that there has been little corroboration over recent months that the virus had spread widely and naturally amongst wild animals, thus raising the spectre of a lab leak. One official told Reuters that the report would likely point to additional lines of inquiry that officials could pursue, including demands of China that are likely to further ratchet up tensions with Beijing at a time when the country’s ties with Washington are at their lowest point in decades.
It comes after China stymied earlier international efforts to gather key information on the ground, and US funding of risky research in Wuhan to make viruses more transmissible receives growing scrutiny. China has refused to give US researchers the kind of access to the Wuhan lab and officials there that American officials believe it would need to definitively try to determine the virus’ origins.
A report by Republican house representatives earlier this month revealed that in July 2019 the Wuhan lab requested a $1.5m overhaul of its hazardous waste treatment system, even though it was less than two years old. The Times reports that it included requests for maintenance on “environmental air disinfection system” and “hazardous waste treatment system”. Its virus database was also mysteriously taken offline amid significantly growing activity at the lab in September, surveillance showed. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the house foreign affairs committee, said: “It is our belief the virus leaked sometime in late August or early September 2019.” When they realised what happened, Chinese Communist party officials and scientists at the [Wuhan lab] began frantically covering up the leak, including taking their virus database offline in the middle of the night and requesting more than $1m for additional security. click full source.
In addition on Sunday, Channel 4 aired an excellent investigative programme with the self evident title : Did Covid leak from a lab in China ? This includes “gain of function” research in both the US and China, including collaborative work between the two Super-powers, despite a moratorium of such research by President Obama in 2014. Click on link below to watch programme.
So there we have it. The report will be published in the next few days. These investigations are about 18 months late, mainly due to a blitz of misinformation by the Chinese Government and leading Scientists in the early days of the pandemic.