Five Eyes network contradicts theory Covid-19 leaked from lab

Elias Hubbard
May 6, 2020

"It is highly likely it was naturally occurring and that the human infection was from natural human and animal interaction".

Last week, the New York Times reported that White House officials, led by deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger, a former China reporter with the Wall Street Journal, pressed the U.S. agencies to gather information that could support any lab theory.

But without greater co-operation and transparency from the Chinese it's impossible to say with total certainty, the first official added.

"And so while the Intelligence Community continues to do its work, they should continue to do that and verify so that we are certain, I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan".

The intelligence alliance comprised of the United Kingdom, the US, Australia and New Zealand shares a broad range of information and is the strongest alliance of its kind in the world.

Asked if scientists could have found the virus outside the lab and brought it there, from where it escaped, Fauci said: "But that means it was in the wild to begin with".

Another official said "clearly the market is where it exploded from", but it's not clear how the virus got there.

As the world struggles with the pandemic, scientists both in China and the West have cited research indicating the virus is likely to have originated in bats and jumped to humans from an intermediate host, similarly to how the SARS epidemic started in 2002 and 2003.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told National Geographic on Monday that he did not entertain the lab theory.

"Like any evidence-based organisation, we would be very willing to receive any information that purports to the origin of the virus", Ryan said, stressing that this was "a very important piece of public health information for future control".

To this end, the U.S. intelligence community issued a statement on Thursday saying it was working 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".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said there was "enormous evidence" for the claim without providing any detail.

It said that it concurred with the "wide scientific consensus" that Covid-19 was not man-made or genetically modified. "We want to find out what happened so it never happens again", he said.

World Health Organization expert Maria Van Kerkhove stressed during Monday's briefing that there were some 15,000 full genome sequences of the novel coronavirus available, and "from all of the evidence that we have seen. this virus is of natural origin".

Trump has been increasingly critical of China's role in the pandemic, which has infected more than 3.5 million people and killed more than 250,000 around the world.

Among the retaliatory options being discussed inside the White House are imposing additional tariffs on Chinese products, stripping China of its sovereign immunity, and cracking down further on Chinese telecommunication companies, the people said.

But he warned that if questions about the virus's origin were 'projected as aggressive investigation of wrongdoing, than I believe that's much more hard to deal with.

'Science needs to be at the centre, ' he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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