After 3 months of investigations, the intelligence community still can't determine the coronavirus' origin

·2 min read
Wuhan lab
The campus of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, on May 27, 2020. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

After three months of investigating, the intelligence community is still unable to determine whether the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 emerged from a Chinese lab, The Washington Post reported.

In May, President Joe Biden set a 90-day timeline for the intelligence community to deliver a report on the origins of the coronavirus. A report sent to him Tuesday was inconclusive on whether the virus spread directly to humans from animals or escaped from a lab.

In February, a World Health Organization investigation in Wuhan, China, found that the virus most likely jumped from animals to people. But the possibility that it could have come from a lab was not ruled out.

The assessment sent to Biden on Tuesday had no definitive conclusion. Two senior officials told The Wall Street Journal it's partly because of limited information shared by China.

"It was a deep dive, but you can only go so deep as the situation allows," one official told The Journal. "If China's not going to give access to certain data sets, you're never really going to know."

Former President Donald Trump and numerous high-level officials in his administration perpetuated the theory that the virus originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but more officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have acknowledged the possibility, particularly after a report showed that three researchers at the lab became sick with flu-like symptoms in November 2019 and went to the hospital.

Experts told The Post that three months wasn't enough to figure out the origin and that it could take years to uncover.

"We should not even be thinking about closing the book or backing off, but rather ratcheting up the effort," David Relman, a Stanford University microbiologist, told The Post.

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