On May 26, U.S. President Joe Biden released a statement calling on the intelligence community “to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information” that could allow a “definitive conclusion” on the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
That statement said U.S. intelligence “has ‘coalesced around two likely scenarios’” — that SARS-CoV-2 either “emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.”
The Wall Street Journal also reported on May 23 that three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) had been hospitalized in November 2019 “with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illness.” The story cited a U.S. intelligence report as the source.
Research at the institute included the study of coronaviruses collected from bats. Wuhan, of course, is where COVID-19 was first detected in December of 2019.
Chinese state media have gone on the offensive, repeatedly dismissing the lab-leak theory with misleading claims.
They include a report posted June 4 by the China Global Television Network (CGTN), headlined, “Expert: Zero evidence that virus came out of a lab in China.” The report relies on quotes from Peter Daszak, an expert on disease ecology, who was a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) fact-finding mission that went to Wuhan earlier this year to investigate the pandemic origins.