FBI Director confirms Covid-19 “most likely” originated in a Chinese lab, but questions remain

FBI Director confirms Covid-19 “most likely” originated in a Chinese lab, but questions remain

In a stunning revelation, FBI Director Christopher Wray has publicly confirmed that the bureau believes Covid-19 “most likely” originated in a lab controlled by the Chinese government. This is the first public confirmation of the FBI’s classified judgement of how the pandemic virus emerged.

However, many scientists have rejected the lab leak theory as lacking in evidence, and other US government agencies have drawn differing conclusions to the FBI’s. Some of them have said that the virus did not start in a lab but instead jumped from animals to humans.

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The White House has also said there is no consensus across the US government on the origins of Covid-19. A joint China-World Health Organization (WHO) investigation in 2021 called the lab leak theory “extremely unlikely”. However, the WHO investigation was deeply criticised and its director-general has since called for a new inquiry, saying: “All hypotheses remain open and require further study.”

Mr Wray’s comments come a day after the US ambassador to China called for the country to “be more honest” about Covid’s origins. In response, Beijing accused Washington of “political manipulation”.

Some studies suggest the virus made the leap from animals to humans in Wuhan, China, possibly at the city’s seafood and wildlife market. The market is near a world-leading virus laboratory, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which conducted research into coronaviruses.

Despite the FBI’s statement, a natural origin is still the more likely theory, according to Professor David Robertson, head of viral genomics and bioinformatics at University of Glasgow. He said there’s been an accumulation of evidence that firmly points to a natural origin centred on the Huanan market in Wuhan city.

Tensions between the US and China have escalated in recent weeks, with the recent spy balloon saga adding fuel to the fire. A bipartisan panel of US lawmakers has also kicked off a series of hearings on the “existential” threat of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

While the origins of Covid-19 remain a subject of intense debate, one thing is clear: the need for a comprehensive investigation that examines all possible theories and sheds light on the true source of the pandemic.

Farhad Safi
Sharing insights and perspectives on the stories that matter.

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