Politicizing COVID-19 origin tracing hinders investigations

Lula Sharp
May 27, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday called for a further intelligence report on the origins of COVID-19, doubling down scrutiny on an issue highly sensitive to Beijing. That theory garnered more attention this week when The Wall Street Journal reported on a US intelligence report citing researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized with an unspecified illness in November 2019.

Describing the lab experiments, he said: 'Two or three years ago they were doing what were called gainer function tests, they were fiddling with the genetic structure of coronavirus to see what would make into a pandemic virus.

'So there are increasing signs that the institute of virology may well be the source, ' he said.

Dr Swan's shifting opinion was first pointed out on Twitter by Institute of Public Affairs communications director Evan Mullholand.

In a surprise statement, Biden announced that the USA intelligence community had delivered a report to him earlier this month on the virus's origins.

On Wednesday President Biden said the intelligence agents were divided on the two possible scenarios: laboratory leak or natural transfer in the wild.

President Joe Biden has declared he wants US intelligence agencies to explore the "lab leak" theory on the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to a statement tweeted by the National Security Council.

They said the report is part of the USA government's repeated efforts to shift the blame on China. He directed US national laboratories to assist with the investigation.

He added the United States will "keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based worldwide investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence".

Even so, his statement marks a reversal for an administration that repeatedly expressed scepticism for the lab leak hypothesis. It has also sought cooperation from China in the research.

Belarus accused of hijacking plane to arrest journalist
EU member state Lithuania, where Protasevich is based, urged the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to respond. Lithuania's prime minister told reporters that the prosecutors interviewed passengers and crew on their arrival in Vilnius.

In April past year, he said he had a "high degree of confidence" that the novel coronavirus came from a lab and claimed to have seen evidence to support his certainty.

That State Department investigation that was shut down is separate from the intelligence community's investigation, which has never stopped.

Facebook will no longer remove posts that claim COVID-19 was man-made in recognition of the reignited debate about the virus's origins, a company spokesperson told ABC News.

"Lately, some people have played the old trick of political hype on the origin tracing of COVID-19 in the world".

Biden said in a statement that he has called for further investigation into the pandemic's origins.

The general said his opinion had not changed from a year ago, when he said the "weight of evidence seems to indicate natural, but we don't know for certain".

In February 2020, security personnel stood guard outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China during the visit of a World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

But the report was widely criticized, and World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said that data had been withheld from his investigators, who were only given highly restricted access to Chinese resources.

In a statement released by the White House, Biden said the report was to include "whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident". "And this time we need a really expert-driven, no-holds-barred collection of information, which is how we're mostly really going to find out what happened".

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