Washington: The Wall Street Journal Three researchers reported from Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) requested care in a hospital in November 2019, months before China revealed its The COVID-19 pandemic.
The newspaper cited an undisclosed US intelligence report, which it said might add weight to requests Further investigation on whether CoronaviruI ran away from the lab.
The report – which provides new details on the number of researchers affected, the time of their illness and their hospital visit – was released on the eve of the World Health Organization (WHO) decision-making body meeting, which is expected to discuss the next phase of investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
A spokeswoman for the National Security Council did not comment on the newspaper’s report, but said that President Joe Biden’s administration still had “serious doubts about the early days of the Covid-19 epidemic, including its origins in the People’s Republic of China.” .
He added that the US government is working with the World Health Organization and other member states to support an assessment The origins of the epidemic Led by experts “free from interference or politicization”.
We will not make statements ahead of the ongoing WHO study on the origin of SARS-CoV-2, but we have made it clear that valid and technically credible theories must be carefully evaluated by international experts. “
The Wall Street Journal said current and former officials familiar with the information about the lab researchers expressed a number of opinions about the strength of the evidence supporting the report, with an anonymous person saying they needed “more investigation and additional corroboration.”
The United States, Norway, Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries expressed concern in March about the WHO-led study on the origins of COVID-19, and called for more research and full access to all relevant data on humans. Animals, et al. Reported on the early stages of an outbreak.
A source familiar with the situation said that Washington wants to ensure greater cooperation and transparency from China.
The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
China’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that a team led by the World Health Organization had concluded that a laboratory leak was extremely unlikely after visiting the Institute of Virology in February.
In response to a request for comment from the magazine, the department said: “The United States continues to promote the laboratory leak theory. Are you really worried about tracing the source or are you trying to divert attention?”
The Donald Trump administration has said it suspects the virus may have escaped from a Chinese laboratory, which Beijing denies.
A State Department report published near the end of the Trump administration stated, “ The United States government has reason to believe that many researchers within WIV contracted the disease in the fall of 2019, before the first identified case of an outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and seasonal diseases. Common. ” He did not mention the number of researchers.
Reuters reported in February that China had refused to give initial data on early COVID-19 cases to the team led by the World Health Organization to investigate the origins of the pandemic, which could complicate efforts to understand how the outbreak began.
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