Top U.S. spy agency: Coronavirus 'not manmade or genetically modified'

2020-05-01 17:17:17CGTN Editor : Cheng Zizhuo ECNS App Download
Special: Battle Against Novel Coronavirus

A statement from U.S. intelligence agencies debunked a conspiracy theory about the origin of the novel coronavirus, concluding that it was "not manmade or genetically modified."

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the statement Thursday.

The conclusions were consistent with a worldwide scientific consensus that includes the World Health Organization (WHO).

"All available evidence suggests that the virus has a natural animal origin and is not manipulated or constructed virus," said WHO Spokeswoman Fadela Chaib at a briefing on April 21. "The virus most probably has its ecological reservoir in bats," she added.

Political weapon?

The announcement came as the Trump administration continues to push an unproven allegation that virus may have escaped from a Chinese government research lab in Wuhan, the then epicenter of the outbreak in China.

China's Foreign Ministry dismissed such claims. "Officials of the World Health Organization have repeatedly said there's no evidence the virus was made in a lab, and many experts have also said the claim lacks scientific grounding," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.

Meanwhile, some U.S. intelligence analysts have expressed concern that senior Trump administration officials' pressure to link the coronavirus with a Chinese lab will distort assessments about the virus and could be used as a political weapon, The New York Times said in a report on Thursday.

In correspondence sent to one of world's leading science journals, Nature Medicine, leading virologists from the U.S., the UK and Australia expressed skepticism of the genetic manipulation theory. Having analyzed the pathogen's genome, they said: "We do not believe that any type of laboratory based-scenario is plausible."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. expert on infectious disease and a member of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, cited this article at a White House briefing. "A group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there and the sequences in bats as they evolve," Fauci said, referring to the genome mapping included in the Nature Medicine article. Having looked at the mutations, Fauci dismissed the manmade virus theory, saying the genome: "... is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human."

(With input from agencies)

Related news


Most popular in 24h

MoreTop news


Back to top Links | About Us | Jobs | Contact Us | Privacy Policy
Copyright ©1999-2020 All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.