The President of the United States, Joe Biden, received this Tuesday (24) a secret report, prepared by the American intelligence agencies, on the origin of Covid-19. White House sources with knowledge of the matter indicated that the investigation failed to determine whether the disease arose from a leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, China, or whether transmission of the virus to a human occurred through a host animal .
Parts of the report are expected to be released for release in the coming days, according to the Washington Post.
The investigation was ordered by President Joe Biden in May, when the American intelligence community was divided between two hypotheses about the emergence of the disease: a leak in Wuhan’s laboratory or the transmission of the virus via an infected animal.
At the time, a report indicated that researchers in Wuhan’s laboratory had sought medical help at a hospital in November 2019 with symptoms that could be related to flu or Covid-19. The document also presented new information that Wuhan’s virology laboratory had been working on confidential research for the Chinese military.
One of the White House officials who spoke to the Wall Street Journal about the new report complained of the Chinese government’s lack of collaboration. “If China isn’t going to give you access to certain sets of data, you’ll never really know,” he said.
The United States, since Donald Trump’s administration, has complained about the Chinese government’s lack of transparency, especially about the first months of the pandemic and data related to research conducted in the Wuhan laboratory. Beijing, however, shies away from Western requests for information by saying the origin of Covid-19 is being used as a political weapon against China.
On the other hand, sources familiar with the report told Reuters that, in recent months, there has been little corroboration to support the theory that the virus spread naturally through a wild animal.
During the first SARS outbreak in China, between 2002 and 2004, Chinese researchers found a virus similar to the one that had caused the epidemic in several animals sold in a market in southern China months after the disease broke out. In the current pandemic, thousands of animals have been tested, but a virus with characteristics similar to Sars-CoV-2, which allows confirming the organism’s theory of natural evolution, has not yet been found.
pressure for answers
Given US intelligence difficulties in reaching a conclusion, President Joe Biden is expected to use the new report to put pressure on China by asking more questions about data that Beijing officials refuse to pass on to the Americans. These efforts, however, tend to be fruitless in discovering the origin of Covid-19, as the Communist Party of China has disregarded any investigation involving Wuhan’s laboratory.
In July, China’s National Health Commission said it would not collaborate with a second-phase WHO investigation into the origin of the virus, which included “audits of relevant laboratories and research institutions operating in the area where the initial human cases were identified in December 2019” – that is, in the Chinese city of Wuhan.