According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, an incident in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, "most likely" produced the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an interview with Fox News, Wray stated, "The FBI has long believed that the epidemic's origins are most likely a probable lab event in Wuhan. The remarks follow a report published earlier this week that stated the US Department of Energy had found that a leak from a Chinese laboratory most likely caused the Covid-19 epidemic.
Yet, other organizations in the American intelligence community think the virus appeared in the world by accident.
Wray asserted in the interview that China's government is attempting to obstruct US efforts to investigate the outbreak's origins. The Chinese government "has been trying to thwart and obfuscate the work here, the job that we're doing, the work that our US government and close foreign allies are doing," Wray added. And that is regrettable for everyone.
Chinese officials vehemently refuted the assertion and labeled it a smear attempt against Beijing. To better combat or possibly avoid the next pandemic, the scientific community believes it is essential to identify the epidemic's causes.
Wray's remarks follow the US Energy Department's earlier conclusion that the Covid pandemic was most likely caused by a lab compromise, by a classified intelligence report recently provided to the White House and significant members of Congress.
The Energy Department could not determine how the virus first appeared before this. The most recent analysis highlighted how many intelligence community members came to conflicting opinions about how the pandemic originated.
The virus started in a lab, according to multiple experts from different intelligence services who could not agree on either explanation. According to analysts who backed the lab leak theory, the virus's initially reported pandemic only affected Wuhan, where the lab was. Researchers who carried out sample work around China provided a node for the virus to reach the city.
On Wednesday, China criticized Wray's remarks and vehemently opposed any "political manipulation" of the facts.
Speaking to reporters in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said, "Based on the dismal track record of fraud and deception of the U.S. intelligence community, the conclusions they reach have no credibility at all."
"...We call on the American side to respect facts and science."
The U.S. administration has not come to a firm decision and consensus over the causes of the epidemic, according to White House national security spokesperson John Kirby on Monday.
When questioned about the Wall Street Journal allegation, backed by other US media, the Chinese foreign ministry cited a WHO-China assessment that suggested a natural rather than a lab-related genesis for the pandemic.
Several of the specifics of the agency's evaluation, according to Wray, were classified, and he was unable to divulge them.
When questioned about the Wall Street Journal article, China's foreign ministry cited a World Health Organization and Chinese report that suggested a natural rather than a lab leak as the cause of the pandemic.
According to Mao Ning, a spokesperson for China's foreign ministry, "On the origins-tracing of SARS-CoV-2, China has been open and transparent and has provided information and data on COVID-19 with the international community promptly.
"China is the only nation to have extended invitations to WHO expert groups more than once to conduct collaborative origins research. China has contributed more information and research results on the sources of SARS-CoV-2 than any other nation, she said.
Mao also suggested that the US take a closer look at its biological facilities, which are dispersed over the globe. She stated, "The US should reply to the world's queries and worries over Fort Detrick and its military and biological facilities worldwide.
"The US won't succeed in discrediting China by making the issue political. It will instead just damage the US's reputation. More than 757 million virus infections and 6.85 million related deaths were recorded as of February 21, according to the WHO's global COVID-19 trackers.
During a press conference on Monday, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs argued against the Department of Energy's updated assessment, saying that "the parties concerned should stop stirring up arguments about laboratory leaks, stop smearing China, and stop politicizing the issue of the virus origin."
Congress did not request the less than five-page update. But, lawmakers in the House and Senate, primarily Republicans, have been looking into the causes of the pandemic on their own and have demanded more information from the Biden administration and the intelligence community.
In Wuhan, China, the novel coronavirus first surfaced in November. 2019 is mentioned in the US 2021 intelligence assessment. The pandemic's origin has been identified. There have been heated discussions among academics, intelligence specialists, and lawmakers.
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