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Intel Agencies Deliver Inconclusive COVID-Origins Report to Biden

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Peter Daszak and Thea Fischer, members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease, sit in a car arriving at Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, February 3, 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

The Director of National Intelligence delivered a report on the origins of the COVID pandemic to President Biden on Tuesday, but the intelligence agencies failed to determine whether the virus emerged naturally or leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China.

The inconclusive report comes 90 days after Biden assigned the intelligence agencies to investigate how the pandemic began, and a redacted version of it is expected to be released publicly in the coming days.

The intelligence community could not ascertain whether the virus was man-made, and escaped during a laboratory accident in Wuhan, China, or leapt from animals to humans via a natural process, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter told the Washington Post. President Biden had said months ago that the intelligence branches narrowed the possibilities to these “two likely scenarios.”

In May, President Biden directed intelligence agencies to generate an analysis “that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion” on the origins of the disease amid renewed debate that a Chinese facility may have unleashed the pathogen by mistake during experimentation.

Long dismissed as a conspiracy and “extremely unlikely” by the World Health Organization, the lab-leak hypothesis gained mainstream traction as circumstantial evidence began to emerge to support the theory and Chinese authorities failed to discover the virus in the wild animal population, despite sampling tens of thousands of animals in and around Wuhan. For instance, it was discovered in May that three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) were hospitalized with symptoms consistent with COVID in November 2019, around the time of the first outbreak, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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