Declassified US intelligence report finds no evidence of coronavirus ‘lab leak’ from Wuhan institute.

A declassified U.S. intelligence report further refutes the idea that SARS-CoV-2 “leaked” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

A newly declassified U.S. intelligence report states that there’s no evidence linking the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to research or biosafety incidents at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, an institute located near the site of the first reported outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

The 10-page document summarizes the U.S. intelligence community’s understanding of the research capabilities and actions of the Wuhan Institute of Virology leading up to and in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report does throw water on the notion that actions taken by WIV researchers somehow sparked the coronavirus pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, WIV researchers did work with coronaviruses but none that could plausibly be precursors to SARS-CoV-2, the report states.

“Information available to the IC indicates that the WIV first possessed SARS-CoV-2 in late December 2019, when WIV researchers isolated and identified the virus from samples from patients diagnosed with pneumonia of unknown causes,” the report states.

There is also no “Direct evidence” that a research-related incident involving WIV personnel occurred before the pandemic and could have sparked the global outbreak, the report notes.

As part of their research, WIV staff have genetically engineered coronaviruses using “Common laboratory practices,” but there’s no indication that the institute has done such research with SARS-CoV-2, a closely related precursor, or a “Backbone” virus that is closely related enough to SARS-CoV-2 to have been the source of the pandemic.

In addition to probing the research conducted at WIV, the report focused on several cases of mild illness among WIV researchers that occurred in the fall of 2019.

The intelligence community has concluded that the employees’ illnesses neither support nor refute either of the pandemic origin hypotheses, in part, because the reported symptoms may have resulted from other conditions, such as allergies or the common cold.

At this time, U.S. intelligence agencies are split as to whether they favor the spillover or lab leak hypothesis, but five have concluded that the former scenario is the most likely, the report notes.

Two agencies – the Department of Energy and the Federal Bureau of Investigation – have supported the lab leak theory, while two more have said they’re unable to determine the precise origin of the pandemic.

Still, “All agencies continue to assess that both a natural and laboratory-associated origin remain plausible hypotheses to explain the first human infection.” But crucially, all agencies have concluded that SARS-CoV-2 was not developed as a biological weapon, the report notes.

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