Office of Director of National Intelligence says US may never be able to pinpoint COVID-19 origin

Agencies are split on whether the virus jumped from animal to human, or if it was caused by a lab leak in Wuhan.

Updated: October 29, 2021 - 4:49pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence says the U.S. intelligence community may never know the specific origin of COVID-19. 

The information is in a 17-page report recently sent from the office to President Biden that details findings so far, according to the Associated Press.

"We don’t think we’re one or two reports away from being able to understand it," an anonymous intelligence analyst told the wire service.

The declassified report states the intelligence community is divided as to whether COVID jumped from animal to human, or if it was leaked from the state-run virology lab in Wuhan, China. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, China has been reluctant to cooperate with World Health Organization investigators, as well as those from the U.S., despite the virus originating in that country.

Biden authorized the review following the growing theory that the virus was leaked from the Wuhan lab, whether accidentally or intentionally.

The report confirms the lab had previously created chimeras, or combinations, of SARS-like coronaviruses but states the information "does not provide insight into whether SARS Cov-2 was genetically engineered by the WIV."

In 2003, when SARS was discovered in China, scientists were able to narrow down the area from which it came. But it wasn't until over a decade later, in 2017, that they were able to pinpoint how it spread to the population.

Just the News Spotlight