Joe Biden’s request of report on origins of Covid-19 returns ‘inconclusive’

A report on the origins of coronavirus requested by Joe Biden returned inconclusive, US media reports said.

American agencies are reportedly divided on whether the virus, first seen in China was the result of a natural spillover from animals to humans or was caused by a laboratory accident.

A summary of the report is expected to be published in the coming days.

The pandemic, which has claimed more than four million lives around the world, began in the Chinese city of Wuhan in early 2020.

While countries have been working to contain the spread of Covid-19, scientists have been trying to work out where the virus originated.

A WHO team, which visited Wuhan, concluded in a report earlier this year that the disease most likely spilled over from an animal sold at a market.

The report appears to dismiss the possibility that the virus might have leaked accidentally from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has studied coronaviruses in bats for more than a decade.

This conclusion has been rejected by some scientists.

In May President Biden gave the US intelligence agencies 90 days to assess the data and produce a report that “could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion” on the origins of the virus.

Intelligence that several researchers at the Wuhan lab were hospitalised in November 2019, and China’s refusal to allow a thorough investigation into the lab theory, are said to have prompted Mr Biden’s decision.

China meanwhile has been stoking the idea that virus originated from Fort Detrick, a military installation in the US. The facility was once the centre of the US biological weapons programme and currently houses biomedical labs researching viruses including Ebola and smallpox.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin referred to it again on Wednesday saying the US “should start with inviting WHO experts to launch a probe into Fort Detrick”.

The US intelligence report was delivered to President Biden on Monday. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said it might take “a couple of days, if not longer, to put together an unclassified version” for the public.