The Trump and Biden administrations both cast doubt on the joint study by Chinese government-linked scientists and international scientists organized under the auspices of the WHO that was conducted in China. The WHO-China report for earlier this year argued a lab leak was “extremely unlikely” and that a jump from animals to humans was most likely. Meeting minutes from discussions between Wuhan lab scientists and the WHO-China team reveal lab leak concerns were dubbed “conspiracy theories.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed in March that the lab leak hypothesis still needed further study.
The G-7 summit’s communique this weekend called for the WHO to set up a follow-up investigation into COVID-19’s origins in China.
During a press conference at the close of the summit, the president was asked what he thought China needed to do to ease tensions.
“I think China has to start to act more responsibly in terms of international norms on human rights and transparency,” Biden replied. “Transparency matters across the board, and I think the idea that ... we haven’t had access to the laboratories to determine whether or not — and I have not reached a conclusion because our intelligence community is not certain yet — whether or not this was a consequence of from the marketplace, of a bat interfacing with animals in the environment that caused this COVID-19, or whether it was an experiment gone awry in a laboratory.”
He added: “It’s important to know the answer to that because we have to have access. We have to build the system whereby we can know what when we see another lack of transparency might produce another pandemic.”
A September report from Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee contended the Chinese Communist Party’s coronavirus cover-up and the WHO’s fumbling of the crisis allowed the coronavirus outbreak to grow into a deadly pandemic.
A State Department fact sheet released in January contended Wuhan lab researchers “conducted experiments involving RaTG13, the bat coronavirus identified by the WIV in January 2020 as its closest sample to SARS-CoV-2 (96.2% similar)” and that the lab “has a published record of conducting ‘gain-of-function’ research to engineer chimeric viruses.” The fact sheet also contended that the lab “has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military” and that lab workers became sick with COVID-19-like symptoms in autumn 2019.
Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan weighed in on the WHO and the next stage of the COVID-19 investigation during a June press conference.
“We have made clear from the beginning of this administration, and in rejoining, that we believe the WHO does need to be reformed," Sullivan said.
The intelligence community confirmed last month that one of its 18 spy agencies is leaning toward the Wuhan lab leak hypothesis on COVID-19’s origins, while two are leaning toward a natural origin.