China has called the latest US intelligence report on the origins of Covid-19 “unscientific” and accused Washington of political interference in the viral investigation, which it says could jeopardize global efforts to fight the outbreak.
“When US intelligence released the so-called unclassified summary of the assessment on the origins of Covid-19 in August, China made clear its staunch opposition. A lie repeated a thousand times is still a lie,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said on Sunday.
According to the spokeswoman, the fact that the special services were involved in the investigation shows that the problem has been politicized. “It could do more harm to the global scientific community in researching the origins of Covid-19, undermine international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic and lead to more human casualties,” Wenbin added.
The U.S. office of the director of national intelligence released an investigation Friday highlighting two possible origins of the coronavirus: natural and laboratory-associated. According to the paper, the US intelligence community believes both scenarios are possible, but does not believe that Covid-19 was designed as a biological weapon.
“The IC (Intelligence Community) is assessing that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, likely originated and infected humans through an initial small-scale exposure that occurred no later than November 2019 with the first known cluster of Covid- 19. 19 cases occurred in Wuhan, China in December 2019,” the report said.
Most agencies also have a low confidence level that SARS-CoV-2 is not genetically modified; however, two agencies say there isn’t enough information to make a decision, 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 around the world, wreaking havoc in many countries.
A That-led team of scientists that traveled to China early this year to investigate the origins of the virus struggled to get a clear picture of what research China was doing beforehand, experienced borders during their stay and had little power to complete and unbiased research.
The WHO established an expert panel earlier this month to investigate the origins of emerging diseases, including SARS-CoV-2. The news was presented by WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at 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 on the origin of emerging and re-emerging pathogens with epidemic and pandemic potential, including SARS-CoV-2.”