May 2 2020 — Rumors have been confirmed. US Intelligence agencies are investigating the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
RELATED POST: 5G — Fake News in the time of the coronavirus [UPDATE]
UPDATE (May 24 2021) — According to U.S. intelligence, three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in November 2019 with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
The initial information was provided by an international partner. “The information is of exquisite quality. It is very precise.”
Today, the director of the Wuhan National Biosafety Lab, which is part of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, issued a strong denial of the report.
One of the challenges in developing any certainty is access to the Wuhan lab itself.
China delayed access to international investigators for months after the initial outbreak, virtually guaranteeing that the lab had been deep-cleaned before any forensic analysis could be done, and investigators were also not allowed to view original data logs that scientists say would be critical to understanding the virus’ origins.
One critical avenue to finding an answer would be to run genetic sequencing on the original samples that staff at the Wuhan lab were working on. But “the Chinese are never going to allow that,” said one person familiar with the underlying intelligence. [CNN : New information on Wuhan researchers’ illness furthers debate on pandemic origins]
Allow me to remind you what I wrote on May 15 2021 [Letter to a young investigator — Be suspicious of everything! (On the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic)] :
“The likelihood of the natural emergence theory is about nil. The intermediary host species of SARS1 was identified within four months of the epidemic’s outbreak, and the host of MERS within nine months.
But 16 months after the outbreak of this pandemic, neither the original bat population, nor the intermediate species to which SARS2 might have jumped, has been identified.
And there is zero serological evidence that any Chinese population, including that of Wuhan, had ever been exposed to the virus prior to December 2019.
The odds that this monster was bio-engineered and accidentally leaked out the Wuhan laboratory are overwhelming.
There is no doubt in my mind that the CIA and the French Intelligence Services must have come to the same conclusion. But they are not telling…”
Question — Who do you think is the “international partner” who provided the CIA with this very precise information of exquisite quality?
If this information can be confirmed, this report greatly favours the lab origin theory. Whether the virus is man-made remains to be demonstrated but…
Again, let us go back to what I wrote before:
Moreover, it was obvious that this expert had lied when he stated that: “When we modify the genes of a virus, it leaves traces that we can notice. In this case, we have no indication to that effect.”
This is a big lie. Although old methods of cutting and pasting viral genomes retain tell-tale signs of manipulation, newer methods leave no defining marks. Moreover, if this virus had been obtained by serial passage, there is simply no way of knowing.
And lo and behold, Dr. Anthony Fauci is no longer convinced that COVID-19 developed naturally.
PolitiFact’s Katie Sander — “There’s a lot of cloudiness around the origins of COVID-19 still, so I wanted to ask, are you still confident that it developed naturally?”
Dr. Anthony Fauci — “No actually. I am not convinced about that, I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened.”
Interesting… And what about serial passage?
“Will you in front of this group categorically say that the COVID-19 virus could not have occurred by serial passage in a laboratory?” Sen. Rand Paul asked Dr. Fauci during a Senate hearing last Tuesday.
Dr. Fauci is no longer certain that such a possibility can be ruled out.
“I do not have any accounting of what the Chinese may have done, and I’m fully in favor of any further investigation of what went on in China,” he merely replied.
One thing is rather clear. Around the world, the experts are far less certain about this virus’ origin today than they were one year ago. That is always a good sign.
END of UPDATE
UPDATE (April 30 2021) — [ Wuhan Lab origin not ruled out by CIA & ODNI]
During a recent House committee hearing on global threats, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and CIA Director William Burns both stated that the “Wuhan lab leak” claim is still a legitimate theory that they are investigating.
Both CIA and ODNI disagree with a recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO), which asserts that the lab leak hypothesis is “extremely unlikely”.
“From our perspective, we just don’t know where, when and how the coronavirus was transmitted initially. We have two plausible theories that we’re working on,” Haines said.
“One of them is that it was a laboratory accident. And the other is that it emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals.”
“We do not make the assessment that the WHO report made — that it is ‘extremely unlikely’… that is not our assessment,” Haines concluded.
The CIA Director confirmed that the “Lab leak” has not been ruled out by the Agency.
“I think at this point, as Director Haines said, this is something that we’re still analyzing, with the benefit of all of the various sources that the intelligence community can bring to bear,” Burns said.
“We are weighing both of the options that Director Haines described.”
Robert Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently said that he believes the “most likely etiology” was “from a laboratory.”
Vice Chairman Rubio Questions Members of the Intelligence Community at Worldwide Threats Hearing
Vice Chairman Rubio: “So about a year and a half ago, a bat virus…transferred to something that infected human beings. I don’t need to tell everybody what’s happened since then. The official answer for why it’s happened — and it is a possible answer — is that this was a new zoonotic transmission, it crossed over from an animal into a human. But there’s another hypothesis which is plausible. And that is that there was an accident at a laboratory that ended up impacting the world the way we’ve seen.
“And there’s reason to believe that’s plausible. Number one, researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology have demonstrated from their publication record that they were skilled at techniques in which they genetically modified bat coronaviruses in order to create new man made viruses that were highly capable of creating disease in human beings.
“Second, there have been several lab leaks documented that have occurred in China, including one involving the original SARS virus.
“And third, U.S. diplomats who visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2019 warned of the risk of the subpar safety standards that they observed.
“I think it’s really a two-part question…We can’t conclude definitively that the virus that causes COVID-19 emerged naturally until there’s a transmission chain [that identifies] how the virus evolved and transmitted between species. And to date, no such path of zoonotic transmission has been definitively identified. Is that — are those two things accurate?”
I think that we can draw a few preliminary conclusions at this point.
First, the report from the World Health Organization (WHO) has ZERO credibility and I do not think that there will be one serious scientist to trust its assessment. Even the WHO General-Director — Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus — had to intervene and contradict its main conclusion.
“Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy,” Tedros said.
“The team also visited several laboratories in Wuhan and considered the possibility that the virus entered the human population as a result of a laboratory incident,” he said. “
However, I do not believe that this assessment was extensive enough. … Further data and studies will be needed to reach more robust conclusions.”
Second, it is also very clear that former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was lying — or at least exaggerating — when he said (May 3 2020) there is “enormous evidence” that the corona-virus pandemic originated in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
“I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this [Corona-virus pandemic] came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”
Third, the US IC appears to conduct a fair and sound investigation regarding the origin of the pandemic. Let’s see where it goes…
END of UPDATE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ODNI News Release No. 11-20
April 30, 2020
Intelligence Community Statement on Origins of COVID-19
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of the Director of National Intelligence today issued the following Intelligence Community (IC) statement:
“The entire Intelligence Community has been consistently providing critical support to U.S. policymakers and those responding to the COVID-19 virus, which originated in China.
The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified.
As we do in all crises, the Community’s experts respond by surging resources and producing critical intelligence on issues vital to U.S. national security.
The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”
Intel Today would like to know what you think. Do you believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is the result of an accident at the Wuhan laboratory?
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PS — I am not yet convinced that COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified.
Actually, some ‘scientific’ statements reported to support that conclusion are clearly untrue. (More about this later.) For now, I believe that Dr Sellin is correct to be cautious.
Unless the US intelligence community can explain the origin of the PRRAR amino acid structure, unique to COVID-19 and not present in any of the identified close relatives like RaTG13, a structure related to a “gain of function” leading to enhanced transmissibility, there is no reason at this stage to dismiss prematurely a bioengineering explanation for the origin of COVID-19.
The US intelligence community statement brought us no closer to the truth and may have unnecessarily handed China a huge propaganda victory, while simultaneously making it less likely that Beijing will be inclined to open its research records for international inspection.
Intelligence Community Statement on Origins of COVID-19 — ODNI News Release No. 11-20 (April 30, 2020)
ODNI — Intelligence Community Statement on Origins of COVID-19 [POLL]
One Year Ago — Intelligence Community Statement on Origins of COVID-19 [UPDATE — Wuhan Lab origin not ruled out by CIA & ODNI]
One Year Ago — Intelligence Community Statement on Origins of COVID-19 [UPDATE — WSJ : Intelligence on Sick Staff at Wuhan Lab Fuels Debate on Covid-19 Origin]