Coronavirus: US intelligence debunks theory it was ‘manmade’

The US intelligence community has determined Covid-19 “was not manmade or genetically modified”, though it is still investigating the virus’ origins.

The National Intelligence chief’s office said agencies are looking into whether the outbreak began from animal contact or a laboratory accident.

President Donald Trump later suggested he had seen evidence the virus came out of a Chinese laboratory.

China has rejected the theory and criticised the US response to Covid-19.

What did the intelligence chief say?
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees US spy agencies, said on Thursday it concurs with the “wide scientific consensus” regarding Covid-19’s natural origins.

“The [intelligence community] 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.”

The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China. There are now over 3.2 million cases worldwide and more than 231,000 deaths.

Thursday’s statement is the first clear response from US agencies debunking conspiracy theories – both from the US and China – about the virus as a purported bioweapon.

The idea that the coronavirus could have inadvertently leaked from a laboratory has not yet been disproven.

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