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US intelligence: No direct evidence COVID-19 originated in China's Wuhan lab

An aerial view shows the P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China. (AFP photo)

A declassified report has revealed that American intelligence agencies failed to find any direct evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic originated from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology as US administrations and media have claimed for years. 

The four-page report, declassified on Friday, said the intelligence agencies had not been able to discover the origins of the pandemic, Reuters reported. 

"The Central Intelligence Agency and another agency remain unable to determine the precise origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, as both (natural and lab) hypotheses rely on significant assumptions or face challenges with conflicting reporting," the report said.

The agencies concluded that while "extensive work" had been done on coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute (WIV), however, they had not found evidence of a specific incident that could have caused the outbreak of the pandemic.

"We continue to have no indication that the WIV's pre-pandemic research holdings included SARSCoV-2 or a close progenitor, nor any direct evidence that a specific research-related incident occurred involving WIV personnel before the pandemic that could have caused the COVID pandemic," the report said.

The conspiracy theory that the contagion had leaked from the Chinese lab was originally hyped up by, among others, the administration of former US president Donald Trump as part of his hawkish anti-China policies.

Trump had said the US should make China pay for COVID disaster, demanding that the US tariffs on Chinese goods be increased “very substantially” as reparation payments for the chaos unleashed by the virus.

China has repeatedly called on the US to give a full clarification on its bio-military activities at home and abroad, a matter of concern shared by Russia and others.

China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology dismissed mainly US-based rumors that the virus might have been artificially synthesized at one of its laboratories or possibly escaped from such a facility.

In an article for the Press TV website, American academic and commentator Dennis Etler wrote that Trump's Wuhan Lab Conspiracy Theory was a baseless disinformation campaign against China.

“The Wuhan Institute of Virology is a world-class research institute and collaborates with scientists from throughout the world, from the US, from Europe and Australia and elsewhere and has a sterling reputation, so the charges being directed against it by the likes of Pompeo and Trump are really slanderous and without any foundation whatsoever,” he stated, referring to Trump’s former hawkish secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

“You really can't believe a word that they have to say. They even contradict themselves almost immediately,” he noted.

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