US President Joe Biden has promised to release the US intelligence community's report on the origins of the COVID-19 pathogen in full once it is ready, unless something comes up that he is not aware of.
On the same day, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement saying that the spy agency currently does not know the exact origins of the coronavirus.
The president's pledge comes a day after he ordered members of the US intelligence community to produce a report in 90 days that would put an end to the debate over whether the coronavirus spread to humans from animals naturally or whether it leaked from a laboratory in China – a suggestion that Beijing has repeatedly strongly denied. According to Biden, the intelligence community remains divided on the matter.
The order follows speculation in a Wall Street Journal article that several employees of the Wuhan Institute of Virology wound up in hospital in late 2019 with symptoms consistent with those observed in COVID-19 patients.
Facebook Backtracks on Calling Man-Made Virus Theory 'Fake'
Shortly after Biden's announcement of a renewed probe, Facebook lifted its ban on posts claiming that COVID-19 is a "man-made" virus, despite vowing to take down such publications in a February 2021 update of its policies. Prior to that, the social media giant actively labelled such posts as false or misleading, including those made in 2020 by then US President Donald Trump.
The latter actively promoted the theory that the COVID-19 pathogen may have escaped from the highest security biological laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, despite Beijing denying these claims. Scientists from the World Health Organisation travelled to Wuhan in January 2021 to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, and they concluded that it was highly unlikely that the virus originated in the lab, but failed to determine its exact path from animals, who are normally susceptible to this type of virus, to humans.