According to media reports, the US Department of Energy, which is responsible for the supervision of laboratories, now assumes that the corona virus escaped from a Chinese laboratory and that the serious pandemic was triggered in this way. This assessment was recorded in a secret intelligence report, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported on Sunday. So far, the ministry has not made a judgment on the issue, but is now leaning towards the laboratory thesis due to new intelligence findings.
However, the US Department of Energy avoided a clear vote. "WSJ" and "NYT" quoted people who have the corresponding secret report as saying that the laboratory thesis was accepted with "little trust". They therefore emphasized that US government agencies continue to come to very different assessments of the outbreak of the corona pandemic.
However, the US Department of Energy's assessment is particularly relevant because it oversees a network of US laboratories, including bio-research laboratories. Before the Department of Energy, the FBI had already come to the conclusion that the pandemic was due to a glitch in a Chinese laboratory.
According to "WSJ", four US secret services are of the opinion that the corona pandemic was triggered naturally. Two other US secret services are undecided on the issue.
The National Security Advisor in the White House, Jake Sullivan, accordingly emphasized on Sunday that there is still a "variety of perspectives" on the issue. "At the moment there is no definitive answer from the secret services to this question," he told CNN.
The government in Beijing reacted with outrage to the reports about the laboratory thesis. Experts from China and the World Health Organization (WHO) have come to the conclusion that a laboratory leak is not a possible cause of the corona pandemic, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said at the regular press conference of the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday. Those involved in propagating the Labor Thesis should "stop sullying China and stop politicizing the issue of causal research."
The WHO made it clear in mid-February that the investigation into the causes of the corona pandemic had not yet been completed. The WHO will do everything in its power "until we get the answer," said its boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Scientists consider clarifying the origin of the pandemic to be crucial for fighting and preventing future pandemics.
The corona pandemic broke out in China at the end of 2019 and initially spread to the metropolis of Wuhan. The virus has killed almost seven million people worldwide. The pandemic and the measures taken to contain it have also had serious economic and social consequences.
It was only in January 2021 that an international team of experts from the WHO was able to visit Wuhan - more than a year after the virus was discovered. However, the report presented by the experts did not provide any clear results on the origin of the pandemic. The so-called laboratory theory, according to which the novel coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 escaped from the Virological Institute in Wuhan, was classified by the WHO experts as "extremely unlikely". It is likely that the pathogen was transmitted to humans by an animal species used as an intermediate host. Which animal species it could have been remained open.
However, doubts and criticism quickly arose about the report and the investigation itself. Many countries have expressed concern that international experts have been denied access to key data in their investigation in China. However, the Chinese government vehemently rejected further investigations, as requested by the head of the WHO.