US intelligence agencies have ruled out that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the COVID-19 pandemic, was designed as a biological weapon, according to a summary of the report commissioned by Biden in May that has been made public this Friday. “We judge that the virus was not developed as a biological weapon,” say the agencies, which also rule out that the virus was the result of genetic manipulation, as conservative sectors of the United States have stated without evidence.
The report, however, does not reach a definitive conclusion about what caused the virus and shows that US intelligence remains divided between two hypotheses: that the virus passed from an animal to a human or that it was the product of an accident in a laboratory.
Specifically, four US intelligence agencies believe the virus is of animal origin, although they have “low confidence” in that idea. Meanwhile, another agency concludes with “moderate confidence” that the first contagion was the result of an accident at the Institute of Virology in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the disease was first detected.
The report assures that, to reach better conclusions about the origin of the virus, the collaboration of the Chinese government would be necessary, which it accuses of “resisting” giving information and “hindering” the investigations. However, despite criticism of Beijing, Washington states that the Chinese authorities “had no prior knowledge of the virus before the initial outbreak,” as members of the Republican Party have alleged without providing evidence.
Former US President Donald Trump insisted for months that the virus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, sparking strong tensions with China, which in return accused Washington of being behind the pandemic.
Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, decided to commission intelligence agencies with a report on the origins of the virus in May, after it was discovered that several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in November 2019 and had to be hospitalized. . Biden received the full report earlier this week. The complete document is still classified and this Friday only published a summary.