COVID-19 is not man-made: US intel community
Published: 11:27 PM, 1 May 2020
The US Intelligence Community (IC) says the coronavirus, a global epidemic that spread from China, is not man-made. They also said that the virus was not created through genetic engineering.
A statement from the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) confirmed the information on Thursday.
The intelligence agency also said it is continuing to investigate whether the new virus had spread from a laboratory.
The statement from the US top intelligence agency, said agencies have been giving "critical support" to American policymakers and those responding to the virus that emerged in China.
"The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified," said the office-statement.
The rare statement came amid backlash from some lawmakers in Congress who pinned the blame on laboratories in Beijing as the source of the pandemic.
The disease has killed more than 60,000 people in the US and infected greater than 1 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The ODNI also said the intelligence community would continue investigating if COVID-19 may have been accidentally leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
"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 United States Intelligence Community (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," it added.
Scientists believe the virus emerged naturally. Viruses such as Ebola or SARS, came from animals.
Speaking with ABC News earlier this month, professor of Infectious Diseases at Stanford Medical School, Robert Shafer, said there is no reason to believe the virus was made in a lab.
"There are many strains in nature that could cause this type of outbreak," he said.
Earlier, US President Donald Trump accused China of spreading the virus. He claimed that the virus had spread from a lab in China.