As reported by the Wall Street Journal, US intelligence learned three doctors at Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick with COVID-like symptoms in November 2019 and sought out hospital care. This, along with an open letter in the journal Science has prompted new calls to find out whether COVID started at that facility.
A State Department report was issued during the last days of former President Donald Trump’s administration but officials familiar with the report did not agree on the strength of the evidence found, the Journal reported. However this new report adds more detail, and comes on the eve of a World Health Organization meeting, which will no doubt include COVID.
In March, virologist Marion Koopmans told NBC News that the illness of lab workers could be due to normal seasonal illnesses.
Earlier this year, a team from the WHO spent a month in Wuhan investigating the origin of the virus, and produced a report concluding that the virus most likely jumped from bats to people, rating a lab leak as “extremely unlikely”.
The WHO however also said it also did not have access to all the necessary information – a situation has prompted some experts to be wary of the findings and demand more investigations into the virus’s origin, including the possibility that it in fact was leaked from a lab.
November 2019 is also in line with when experts believe COVID began circulating.
For its own part, China has consistently denied that the coronavirus escaped from a lab. However, the lab has not made available its raw data or records on its work with coronaviruses in bats.
A spokeswoman for the National Security Council told the Wall Street Journal that the Biden administration has questions about the virus’, but plausible theories should be investigated by WHO.
“We’re not going to make pronouncements that prejudge an ongoing WHO study into the source of SARS-CoV-2,” the spokeswoman said. “As a matter of policy we never comment on intelligence issues.”
Source: Business Insider