The U.S. intelligence community said it is examining “all available evidence” on the origin of COVID-19 and “aggressively” working to collect and analyze new information on the issue.
“The U.S. Intelligence Community does not know exactly where, when, or how the COVID-19 virus was transmitted initially but has coalesced around two likely scenarios: either it emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals or it was a laboratory accident,” Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Strategic Communications Amanda Schoch said in a statement Thursday.
“While two elements of the IC lean toward the former scenario and one leans more toward the latter — each with low or moderate confidence — the majority of elements within the IC do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other,” Schoch said.
“The IC continues to examine all available evidence, consider different perspectives, and aggressively collect and analyze new information to identify the virus’s origins,” Schoch added.
The statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) comes after President Biden, who has called for access to China to learn about COVID-19 origins since March 2020, released the rare statement Wednesday, revealing that the U.S. intelligence community has “coalesced around two likely scenarios” for the origins of COVID-19, “including whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident,” and asked for “additional follow-up.”
The president asked the intelligence community to “redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion, and to report back to me in 90 days,” Biden said.
“As part of that report, I have asked for areas of further inquiry that may be required, including specific questions for China,” he added, while noting that the effort would include work by “our National Labs and other agencies of our government to augment the Intelligence Community’s efforts” and directing the IC to “keep Congress fully apprised of its work.”