China says it has been ‘open and transparent’ about the origins of Covid – Times of India

BEIJING: China on Tuesday pushed back on renewed suggestions that the COVID-19 pandemic could be the result of a laboratory leak, saying it was “open and transparent” in its search for the origin of the virus. Recently, the US Department of Energy ruled with “little confidence” that the pandemic first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 began with a virus leaking from a laboratory.
The report has not been made public, and officials in Washington stressed that US agencies disagree on its origins.
China has “shared the most data and research results on virus detection and made important contributions to global virus detection research,” a State Department spokesman said. Mao Ning Mao told reporters on Tuesday at a daily briefing.
US officials and members of Congress have accused China of not fully cooperating with origin investigations.
A World Health Organization expert group said last year that “key pieces” are still missing to explain how the pandemic started. The scientists cited research opportunities that were needed, including studies evaluating the role of wildlife and environmental studies in places where the virus may have first spread.
The Associated Press has previously reported that the Chinese government strictly controlled research into the origins of the pandemic, quashing certain work and promoting fringe theories that it could have originated outside the country.
“Politicizing the issue of virus tracing will not contaminate China, but will only damage the US’s own credibility,” Mao said.
Her comments came amid ongoing questions about how the virus that has killed more than 6.8 million people worldwide first emerged.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s finding was first reported this weekend in The Wall Street Journal, which said the classified report was based on new information and was cited in a 2021 document update. The DOE is overseeing a national network of laboratories in the US.
White House officials Monday declined to confirm press releases about the assessment. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Monday that “there just isn’t a consensus within the intelligence community” about its origins.
In 2021, officials released a summary of the intelligence report stating that four members of the U.S. intelligence community believed with low confidence that the virus had been transmitted from an animal to a human for the first time, and a fifth believed with moderate confidence that the first human infection associated with a laboratory.
Some scientists are open to the lab leak theory, but many scientists believe the virus originated in animals, mutated, and jumped into humans — as has happened with viruses in the past. Experts say the true origins of the pandemic may not be known for many years, if not ever.

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