Covid 'more likely' leaked from lab, US lawmakers say in report slamming China

The coronavirus ‘more likely than not’ came from a laboratory leak, according to a report from US lawmakers that is critical of China.

Senate Republicans investigating the origin of Covid-19 noted ‘substantial evidence’ that it came from a lab-related incident rather than originating in animals and jumping to humans.

‘Nearly three years after the Covid-19 pandemic began, substantial evidence demonstrating that the Covid-19 pandemic was the result of a research-related incident has emerged,’ states an interim report released by the Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions on Thursday.

‘A research-related incident is consistent with the early epidemiology showing rapid spread of the virus in Wuhan, with the earliest calls for assistance being located in the near the (Wuhan Institute of Virology) WIV’s original campus in central Wuhan.’

Most scientists back a Science Magazine paper’s conclusion in August that Covid-19 was transmitted from animals to humans possibly in the wet markets of Wuhan.

However, the Senate report raises problems with the natural zoonotic hypothesis.

‘Nearly three years after the Covid-19 pandemic began, critical evidence that would prove that the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and resulting Covid-19 pandemic was caused by a natural zoonotic spillover is missing,’ it states.

The report admits that critical information around the pandemic’s origins is still missing and that neither the lab nor the natural theories have direct evidence.

But it slams a ‘lack of transparency and collaboration’ from China which ‘prevents reaching a more definitive conclusion’.

The Senate report concludes: ‘Based on the analysis of the publicly available information, it appears reasonable to conclude that the Covid-19 pandemic was, more likely than not, the result of a research-related incident.’

New information could change that assessment, the report acknowledges.

‘However, the hypothesis of a natural zoonotic origin no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt,’ it states, ‘Or the presumption of accuracy.’

The origin of the coronavirus has become more and more a partisan issue. Beside Senate Republicans, conservatives on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have pushed the National Institutes of Health to probe the lab leak theory.

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