Republicans in the Senate who looked into how the pandemic started came to the conclusion that it was most likely caused by a laboratory coronavirus leak.
According to a report by The Washington Examiner, there is insufficient evidence to support the idea that it may have instead been transmitted from animals to people.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology in China is thought to be the source of COVID-19, according to a report released on Thursday by Republicans on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
The report details the lab’s bat coronavirus research and history of biosafety issues, but it states that a firm conclusion cannot be drawn.
“Based on the analysis of the publicly available information, it appears reasonable to conclude that the COVID-19 pandemic was, more likely than not, the result of a research-related incident,” the interim report read.
The report went on to say that, “New information, made publicly available and independently verifiable, could change this assessment. However, the hypothesis of a natural zoonotic origin no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt or the presumption of accuracy.”
“Critical” unanswered concerns
The investigation came to the conclusion that there were “critical” unanswered concerns about the zoonotic origin explanation, such as which animal served as the virus’s initial host and the location of the virus’s first human infection, that make the notion “unlikely.”
“Critical corroborating evidence of a natural zoonotic spillover is missing. While the absence of evidence is not itself evidence, the lack of corroborating evidence of a zoonotic spillover or spillovers, three years into the pandemic, is highly problematic,” the report read.
While the assessment, led primarily by Republican lawmakers, concluded that a lab leak was a more likely source, it was emphasized that they were unable to reach a definitive conclusion because they lacked conclusive proof.
Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the committee’s top Republican, claimed that lack of openness from Chinese public health and government authorities prohibited the group from reaching a “more definitive conclusion.”
In accordance with the bipartisan PREVENT Pandemics Act, which calls for the creation of an independent task force to investigate the origins, Senate HELP Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA), who was not engaged in the report, stated she was still dedicated to looking into the origins of SARS-CoV-2.
Recent studies imply that the virus came from bats and spread to humans, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of NIAID, has also stated that a natural origin is the most plausible theory.