President Joe Biden asked United States intelligence services to report back to him in 3 months on whether the origins of coronavirus appeared in China from an animal source or a laboratory accident.
In a statement given by the White House, Biden urged agencies to “redouble their efforts to collect and evaluate information that could lead us closer to a conclusive decision, and to check results to me in 90 days.” According to Biden, authorities are split over two likely sources for the virus that ravaged the globe last year, killing more than 3.4 million people a statistic scientists think is surely an underestimate.
Biden’s directive adds to the growing debate over whether the origins of coronavirus through animal contact at a market in Wuhan, China, or through the escape of the coronavirus from a highly protected research facility in the same city.
The answer has huge ramifications for both China, which claims it is not to blame for the outbreak, and US politics, where Republicans have used the lab idea to attack Beijing. In March, Biden requested a study on the virus’s origins, including “whether it developed from human interaction with an infected animal or through a laboratory mistake,” according to Biden.
At this time, the US intelligence community has ’emerged around two probable scenarios, he said, but has not reached a definitive decision on this matter.