The report also cited “ample evidence” that scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), with the help of US experts and funding from the Chinese and US government, were working to modify coronaviruses to infect humans and such manipulation. could be hidden.
Rep. Mike McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the report from the panel’s Republican staff. He urged a bipartisan investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic that has killed 4.4 million people worldwide.
China denies that a genetically modified coronavirus was leaked from the facility in Wuhan, where the first cases of Covid-19 were detected in 2019, a leading but unproven theory among some experts. Beijing also denies the cover-up accusations.
Other experts suspect that the pandemic was caused by an animal virus that was likely transmitted to humans at a seafood market near WIV.
“Now we believe it is time to completely rule out the wet market as a source,” the report said. “We also believe that the preponderance of the evidence proves that the virus leaked from WIV and that it did so sometime before September 12, 2019.”
The report cited what it called new and under-reported information on safety protocols in the lab, including a July 2019 request for a $ 1.5 million overhaul of a hazardous waste treatment system for the facility, which had fewer than two years.
In April, the main US intelligence agency said it agreed with the scientific consensus that the virus was neither man-made nor genetically modified.
US President Joe Biden in May ordered US intelligence agencies to accelerate their search for the origins of the virus and report back within 90 days.
A source familiar with current intelligence assessments said the US intelligence community has reached no conclusion as to whether the virus comes from animals or from WIV.