Energy Department Says Covid Came from Wuhan Lab

(p. A1) WASHINGTON — New intelligence has prompted the Energy Department to conclude that an accidental laboratory leak in China most likely caused the coronavirus pandemic, though U.S. spy agencies remain divided over the origins of the virus, American officials said on Sunday.

The conclusion was a change from the department’s earlier position that it was undecided on how the virus emerged.

. . .

Officials would not disclose what the intelligence was. But many of the Energy Department’s insights come from its network of national laboratories, some of which conduct biological research, rather than more traditional forms of intelligence like spy networks or communications intercepts.

Intelligence officials believe the scrutiny of the pandemic’s beginnings could be important to improving global response to future health crises, though they caution that finding an answer about the source of the virus may be difficult or even impossible given Chinese opposition to further research. Scientists say there is a responsibility to explain how a pandemic (p. A7) that has killed almost seven million people started, and learning more about its origins could help researchers understand what poses the biggest threats of future outbreaks.

The new intelligence and the shift in the department’s view was first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Sunday [Feb. 26, 2023].

For the full story, see:

Julian E. Barnes. “Energy Dept. Suspects Virus Was From Lab.” The New York Times (Monday, February 27, 2023): A1 & A7.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Feb. 26, 2023, and has the title “Lab Leak Most Likely Caused Pandemic, Energy Dept. Says.”)

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