By: Sonika Humar
On May 27th, 2021, President Joe Biden ordered U.S. intelligence officials to reinvigorate their efforts in determining the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, this time aiming their focus on the possibility that COVID-19 could have been produced in a Wuhan Laboratory. This order came months after he dismissed it as a fringe theory that Donald Trump and the GOP have tried to promote. The U.S. intelligence agencies are to report back on their investigation within 90 days.
Currently, there are two leading theories on the origin of COVID-19 – the lab creating the virus and a second, more probable scenario that virology experts have long backed up; a human came in contact with an infected animal at a wet market.
“I think the most likely reason by which SARS-CoV-2 arose was a natural process of transfer from an animal to humans, but it is certainly possible that other options might have occurred,” States the Director of National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins.
A study conducted by China and the World Health Organization found that an animal transfer is a likely explanation and dismissed the lab accident idea. However, this study has been widely criticized by Canada and the United States because of the possibility of political interference.
“We need a completely transparent process from China, we need the WHO to assist in that matter. We don’t feel like we have that now.” States White House Senior Advisor Andy Slavitt.
Recently, evidence from a U.S. intelligence report stated that three individuals working in the Wuhan Lab were hospitalized with COVID-like symptoms in November 2019. This led to the Lab theory gaining more traction during the past week. However, it is not officially confirmed if these people had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Determining the origins of COVID-19 is crucial in preventing other coronavirus pandemics from happening in the near future and manufacturing effective vaccines to combat them. Although, because of the Chinese government’s refusal to fully cooperate with international investigations, there is a possibility that a definite conclusion of the origins of the virus will never be reached.
The Associated Press. “Biden Orders U.S. Intelligence to Investigate COVID-19 Origin | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 27 May 2021, http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/biden-china-wuhan-laboratory-1.6042142.
Madhani, Zeke Miller and Aamer. “U.S. President Joe Biden Orders More Intel Investigation of COVID-19 Origin.” Coronavirus, CTV News, 27 May 2021, http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/u-s-president-joe-biden-orders-more-intel-investigation-of-covid-19-origin-1.5444678.