Senior officials in the Biden administration, including national security adviser Jake Sullivan, now consider the theory that the novel coronavirus leaked from a laboratory is equally plausible as a natural origin, CNN reported Friday night.
The report comes in the middle of a US intelligence community review of hypotheses about the origins of the pandemic, ordered by President Biden in May. While intelligence agencies are still divided as to whether the coronavirus first infected a human in the wild or in a laboratory, the laboratory leak theory has received renewed credibility in those agencies, said a familiar source. with the review CNN.
“There has been a change in his point of view,” the source said.
The change coincides with a shift in popular opinion among Americans about the origins of the coronavirus. A bipartisan majority of Americans now believe the coronavirus leaked from a laboratory, including 59 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats, according to a Political-Harvard University survey at the end of June.
At a news conference Thursday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was “premature” to rule out the hypothesis of a laboratory leak.
“I was a laboratory technician myself, I am an immunologist and I have worked in the laboratory, and laboratory accidents happen,” Tedros told reporters.
The city of Wuhan, China, where the pandemic began, is home to three laboratories studying coronaviruses, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology. China has refused to allow independent researchers access to the institute’s data since the early days of the pandemic.
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