China has called the newest US intelligence report on the origins of Covid-19 “unscientific”, accusing Washington of political meddling in the viral investigation, which it believes could jeopardize global efforts to combat the outbreak.
“When the US intelligence agency released the so-called unclassified summary of assessment on Covid-19 origins in August, China made clear its firm opposition. A lie repeated a thousand times is still a lie,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, said on Sunday.
The fact that the special services were involved in the research, according to the spokeswoman, demonstrates that the problem is politicized. “It can do more harm to the global scientific community in the field of Covid-19 origin research, undermine the international cooperation in fighting with the pandemic, and lead to more human casualties,” Wenbin added.
The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a study on Friday focusing on two likely coronavirus origins: natural and laboratory-associated. According to the paper, the US intelligence community believes both scenarios are possible but does not believe Covid-19 was designed as a biological weapon.
“The IC (intelligence community) assesses that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, probably emerged and infected humans through an initial small-scale exposure that occurred no later than November 2019 with the first known cluster of Covid-19 cases arising in Wuhan, China in December 2019,” according to the report.
Most agencies also have a low confidence level that SARS-CoV-2 was not genetically modified; however, two agencies say there isn’t enough information to make a decision either way, according to the report.
The first incidence of Covid-19 was reported two years ago, but there are still no clear explanations as to how the virus started and spread over the world, creating devastation in many countries.
A That-led team of scientists who traveled to China to examine the virus’s origins in early this year struggled to gain a clear picture of what research China was doing beforehand, experienced limits during their stay and had little power to undertake full and unbiased research.
WHO established an expert panel to investigate the origins of emerging diseases, including SARS-CoV-2, earlier this month. The news was presented by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press conference in Geneva.
He had previously stated that “SAGO will advise WHO on the development of a global framework to define and guide studies into the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens with epidemic and pandemic potential, including SARS-CoV-2.”