FBI Director Christopher Wray has said that the bureau believes Covid-19 “most likely” originated in a “Chinese government-controlled lab.” This is the first public confirmation of the FBI’s classified judgement of the origin of the pandemic virus. The US Department of Energy, which oversees a network of 17 US laboratories, also recently arrived at a similar finding.
Conflicting hypotheses on the origins of Covid-19 have centered either on an unidentified animal transmitting the virus to humans or its accidental leak from a Chinese research laboratory in Wuhan. The US government has acknowledged that there are a “variety of views” within US intelligence agencies on the issue and that no definitive conclusion and consensus has been reached. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a new inquiry and has said “all hypotheses remain open and require further study.”
The Chinese government, which has been accused of blocking access and not providing data, has rejected the lab leak theory.
The journal Nature reported on February 14, 2023 that the WHO has “quietly shelved” the second phase of the scientific investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic due to difficulties in collaborating with China. The WHO carried out a first phase of investigation by sending a team of international experts to Wuhan, China, in January 2021 to produce a first phase report, written in conjunction with their Chinese counterparts. The initial plan had been to send a second team. The US Ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, called on China to “be more honest about what happened three years ago in Wuhan with the origin of the Covid-19 crisis.”
Covid-19 has caused close to 7 million deaths worldwide according to the WHO. The cumulative excess death during COVID is estimated at 20 million. The WHO has refuted allegations that it is abandoning studying the origins of the Covid pandemic. “We need to continue to push until we get the answer,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, told reporters on February 15, 2023.