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FBI Director Christopher Wray has stated that a lab leak in China is the most likely explanation for the origins of the virus.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has publicly stated that the bureau believes Covid-19 most likely originated from a Chinese government-controlled lab. Wray confirmed that the FBI has long assessed the possibility of a lab incident as the origins of the pandemic. This marks the first public acknowledgment of the FBI’s classified assessment regarding the emergence of the virus.

However, it’s important to note that many scientists argue there is currently no evidence to support the theory that the virus leaked from a lab. Additionally, other US government agencies have arrived at different conclusions from the FBI’s assessment. Some of these agencies, albeit with limited certainty, suggest that the virus originated through zoonotic transmission, where it crossed over from animals to humans.

The White House has stated that there is no consensus within the US government regarding the origins of Covid-19. In 2021, a joint investigation by China and the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed the lab leak theory as “extremely unlikely.” Nonetheless, the WHO investigation faced substantial criticism, leading its director-general to call for a new inquiry and emphasizing the need for further study of all hypotheses.

Wray’s remarks follow a statement by the US ambassador to China, who urged China to be more transparent about the origins of Covid-19. During his interview, Wray highlighted China’s efforts to impede and obscure investigations into the source of the global pandemic. He mentioned that specific details of the FBI’s investigation are classified but assured that the agency has a team of experts dedicated to addressing biological threats.

In response, Beijing accused Washington of engaging in “political manipulation” and dismissed the credibility of the conclusions reached by the US. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning emphasized that their findings lacked credibility.

Certain studies propose that the virus may have made the leap from animals to humans in Wuhan, China, potentially originating from the city’s seafood and wildlife market. Notably, this market is in close proximity to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a renowned virus laboratory that conducted research on coronaviruses.

Recently, the US Department of Energy stated that it had reached a conclusion, albeit with “low confidence,” that the virus most likely originated from a lab leak in Wuhan. However, many scientists who have extensively studied the virus have stated that there is no new scientific evidence supporting the theory of a lab leak.

According to Professor David Robertson, the head of viral genomics and bioinformatics at the University of Glasgow, the theory of a natural origin remains more plausible. He explained that the existing evidence, including our understanding of the virus’s biology, the identification of similar variants in bats, and the locations of early human cases, strongly points towards a natural origin centered around the Huanan market in Wuhan city.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby mentioned on Monday that US President Joe Biden supports a comprehensive investigation into the origins of Covid-19. However, Kirby acknowledged that a consensus has not yet been reached. He added that if there is information ready to be shared with the American people and Congress, it will be briefed accordingly.

The recent spy balloon incident has further heightened tensions in the bilateral relationship between the US and China. In response, a bipartisan panel of US lawmakers has initiated a series of hearings focusing on the perceived “existential” threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party. The first session of the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party concentrated on issues such as human rights abuses and the US economy’s reliance on Chinese manufacturing.