Biden orders US probe into pandemic's origins

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President Joe Biden this week instructed U.S. Intelligence agencies to investigate the COVID-19 pandemic's origins amid renewed calls from health officials and scientists for a more in-depth probe, reports The New York Times.

In a May 26 statement, President Biden said the agencies don't have enough information to give a definitive answer on how the virus emerged. The prevailing theory is that the virus jumped from animals to humans, but intelligence agencies have not ruled out the possibility that the virus may have accidentally come from a lab in Wuhan, China.

The renewed probe comes about two weeks after 18 scientists penned a letter in Science calling for a new investigation, saying both theories are viable. The World Health Organization in February shared the first details of its probe into the pandemic's origin and said it was "extremely unlikely" that the virus leaked from a lab.

However, Chinese officials have blocked an independent investigation into the Wuhan Institute of Virology and have not explained some inconsistencies in the animal-to-human hypothesis, according to the Times.

President Biden has asked intelligence agencies to report their findings within 90 days.

 

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