U.S. advocates international study of COVID-19 theories of origin

The United States is in favor of exploring various theories about the origin of the new coronavirus as part of an independent international investigation. This was announced Tuesday, May 25, at a regular briefing by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

“The president of the United States believes there should be an independent international investigation. <...> He is in favor of the Chinese side making more [effort] to provide data. We hope that will be the case in the second phase [of the investigation]. The president believes that any theories should be considered as part of that process. But right now we shouldn’t rush to conclusions until we get the relevant data,” Psaki said.

She also said the United States would be involved in the investigation.

On May 20, the U.S. House Intelligence Committee reported “circumstantial evidence” that a new type of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The committee cited information regarding China’s announcement back in 2017. At the time, the PRC said the Wuhan lab was engaged in “dangerous coronavirus research without following mandatory safety protocols.”

On May 23, The Wall Street Journal reported that a severe illness among Wuhan Institute of Virology staff in November 2019 could indicate that the theory of artificial origin of the coronavirus was true. The publication specified that the scientists’ illness was extremely severe and they had to be hospitalized.

On January 3, Matthew Pottinger, deputy advisor to now former U.S. President Donald Trump, said that the COVID-19 pandemic could have arisen from a leak from a Chinese laboratory. In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying emphasized that Chinese scientists had repeatedly denied this information.