CV NEWS FEED // Senator Marco Rubio released a report confirming that the Covid-19 virus could have originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China. The results of the two-year investigation were released on Wednesday, May 17.
Sen. Rubio remarked, “The implications are impossible to ignore: Beijing hid the truth. This report reinforces the need to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable.”
Investigations into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic were reignited in February when the Department of Energy released a classified intelligence report that stated the pandemic likely occurred due to a laboratory leak.
Before Rubio’s investigation, many officials were already beginning to question the origins of the Covid-19 virus. The Energy Department stated with “low confidence” that the pandemic most likely arose from a laboratory leak, and the FBI came to the same conclusion with “moderate confidence.”
Even with these statements, leaders remained divided. Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor for the United States, said there was no definitive answer in the intelligence community.
In the wake of this uncertainty, the Rubio report targeted four questions for investigation:
- First, were there prior and potentially dangerous biosafety hazards at the Wuhan labs? Were the lab managers aware of this?
- Second, were leaders concerned about the lab biosafety of studying the bat coronavirus at Wuhan?
- Third, is there an accurate timeline for a laboratory incident that could be linked to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic?
- Finally, when were officials first aware of this outbreak? Did they know it was a novel pathogen and did they think it came from a zoonotic spillover or a laboratory leak?
In pursuing these questions, the report found evidence that Chinese officials knew about the incident no later than November 2019:
This study identified a variety of significant indicators that the PRC authorities and relevant figures in the scientific community possessed some level of awareness of an outbreak of infectious disease well in advance of the first disclosure of this information to the public on December 31, 2019.
The report states that “just as Beijing was dismissing the lab leak theory of the origin of Covid-19 in international settings, internally, Beijing was warning its officials that the risk of laboratory-acquired infections with SARS-CoV-2 was significant.”
In the months leading up to the outbreak in late 2019, a series of reports from the WIV suggested that the lab managers and leaders were aware of the potential biosafety dangers associated with the lab.
From December of 2019 through October of 2021, says the report, researchers requested repairs to problems addressing the air pressure system, the biocontainment equipment, and waste handling process. Issues with any of these systems could have led to the leak of the Covid-19 pathogen.
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