The US Department of Energy’s assessment that covid-19 likely arose from a laboratory accident in China has reignited a fierce debate and refocused attention on the origin of the pandemic.
But the determination that this is a “low confidence” assessment, made in a recently updated classified report, leaves open more questions than answers, as the department has not publicly provided new supporting evidence. It also drew fierce rejection from China.
“We urge the United States to respect science and facts, stop politicizing this issue, stop intelligence- and politically-driven origin tracing,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.
The Department of Energy assessment is part of a broader US effort in which President Joe Biden asked intelligence agencies – in 2021 – to investigate the origins of the new coronavirus, first detected in the city Wuhan China.
That general assessment by the intelligence community was inconclusive, and then, as now, a decisive link between the virus and a specific animal or other option has yet to be established, as China continues to obstruct international investigations into its origins.