The U.S. Energy Department has concluded that the Covid-19 pandemic was most likely caused by a laboratory leak, according to a Wall Street Journal report. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said there is “not a definitive answer" on the virus’ genesis. According to the report, the Energy Department reached this conclusion based on new intelligence, but determined its level of confidence in its judgment as “low.” The FBI also determined with “moderate confidence” the virus came from a lab leak, but for different reasons. Other federal agencies disagree, with four determining with “low confidence” the virus was transmitted naturally through animals, and two others, including the CIA, remaining undecided between the two origin theories.
The Department of Energy’s report reaffirmed the belief that the Covid-19 pandemic was not caused by a Chinese biological weapons program. Sullivan said on CNN that President Biden has directed the intelligence community to “put effort and resources behind getting to the bottom of this question,” but that “right now, there is not a definitive answer that has emerged from the intelligence community on this question.”
The exact origins of the Covid-19 pandemic are still not entirely certain. Many experts believe the virus most likely jumped from animals to humans naturally, while a handful think the possibility of a lab accident deserves more scrutiny. It is also believed that the virus may have spread to humans from animals like bats, raccoons or pangolins, or it was transmitted from one animal species to another before reaching humans. This natural transmission could have occurred at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which many of the first cases were linked to.