Three researchers from the Chinese Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) were sponsored in a hospital in November 2019. This was months before China declared the Covid-19 pandemic. Report this on Wall Street Journal Sunday. The business newspaper referred to a previously undisclosed US intelligence report.
The report appeared on the eve of the decision-making body at the World Health Organization. This meeting is expected to discuss the next phase of investigation into the origin of Covid-19.
A spokeswoman for the National Security Council did not comment on the newspaper’s report, but said that the Biden administration still “has serious questions about the early days of the epidemic, including its origins in the People’s Republic of China.”
She said the US government is working with the World Health Organization to investigate the origins of the pandemic by experts, “far from interference or politicization.”
“We will not make any statements before the WHO’s ongoing investigation into the source of SARS-CoV-2, but we have made it clear that technically sound and credible theories need comprehensive evaluation by international experts,” she said.
Escaped from the lab?
Wall Street Journal He argued that the report – which provides new details about the number of researchers affected, the timing of their illnesses and their hospital visits – provides arguments for the hypothesis that the virus escaped from the laboratory.
But Marion Koopmans, a Dutch virologist on the WHO team, said NBC News Alternatively, some WIV employees fell ill in the fall of 2019, but attributed this to a regular seasonal illness, such as influenza.
“There were occasional illnesses, because that’s normal.” “There was nothing special,” she said. “Maybe one or two. It is definitely not a big problem. “
The United States, Norway, Canada, Great Britain and other countries expressed concern in March about the WHO-led investigation into the origin of Covid-19. Countries have called for further investigations and full access to all relevant human, animal and other data about the early stages of the outbreak.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that a team led by the World Health Organization concluded after a visit to the Institute of Virology in February that a laboratory leak was highly unlikely.
“The United States continues to promote the laboratory leak theory,” the ministry said in response to a request for comment. Wall Street Journal. “Is she really concerned with pinpointing the source or is she trying to divert attention?”
Members of the Trump administration stated last year that the virus could have escaped from a Chinese laboratory, which Beijing denies.
The State Department fact sheet issued at the end of Trump’s term stated: “The US administration has reason to believe that many investigators within the IPH contracted the disease in the fall of 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and the diseases. Common seasonal. ” He did not mention the number of researchers participating.
According to a WHO researcher, China has refused to provide data on early COVID-19 cases Reuters In February. This may complicate efforts to understand how the outbreak began.
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