COVID-19 Pandemic Most Likely Result of Lab Leak, U.S. Energy Department Concludes

COVID-19 Pandemic Most Likely Result of Lab Leak, U.S. Energy Department Concludes

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense suffering and disruption worldwide, with over 400 million confirmed cases and more than 5 million deaths so far. The origin of the virus, SARS-CoV-2, has been a subject of intense scientific, political, and media scrutiny since it first emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Initially, the prevailing hypothesis was that the virus originated from a wet market in Wuhan, where live animals and seafood were sold for human consumption. This theory was supported by Chinese authorities and some international experts, but it faced increasing skepticism and scrutiny from other scientists, journalists, and policymakers.

One of the key reasons for the doubts about the natural origin of the virus was the genetic and biochemical features of SARS-CoV-2, which differed from other known coronaviruses and showed signs of manipulation in the laboratory. These features included the furin cleavage site, which enhances the virus’s ability to infect human cells, and the unique backbone of the virus’s genome, which resembled that of a bat coronavirus but lacked the intermediate host that could explain its jump to humans. Moreover, several scientists who had studied bat coronaviruses in Wuhan had reported lax safety standards and risky research practices in the labs of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and other facilities in the area.

Despite these concerns, the mainstream media and many public health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, continued to downplay the lab leak hypothesis and focus on the zoonotic spillover theory. However, the tide of opinion started to shift in May 2021, when President Biden ordered a new investigation into the origins of the pandemic and gave the intelligence community 90 days to report back. The move followed a growing chorus of voices from the scientific, political, and media spheres, who called for a more thorough and transparent inquiry into the lab leak theory, which had been dismissed or marginalized as a conspiracy theory by many in the early stages of the pandemic.

Now, it appears that the lab leak theory has gained more credence and support from the U.S. government, specifically the Energy Department, which had been neutral or uncertain on the matter. According to a classified intelligence report that was recently provided to the White House and key members of Congress, the Energy Department has concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic most likely arose from a laboratory leak. This shift in stance is noted in an update to a 2021 document by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines’s office, which had previously assessed that the virus’s origins remained “uncertain” and required further investigation.

The significance of the Energy Department’s conclusion is not only its endorsement of the lab leak theory but also its expertise in nuclear and biological security, which could have implications for the safety and security of research and facilities that handle pathogens and toxins. Moreover, the report adds to the mounting evidence and testimony from whistleblowers, defectors, and scientists who have challenged the official narratives and denials of the Chinese government and the WIV. Some of the latest revelations include the discovery of several early COVID-19 cases in and around the WIV, the deletion of WIV’s virus database and other records, and the publication of a new book by a former New York Times science writer, Nicholas Wade, who argues that the lab leak theory is more plausible than the zoonotic spillover theory.

However, the lab leak theory is still controversial and disputed by some scientists, journalists, and politicians, who argue that there is no conclusive evidence and that

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