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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Lab Leak, Revisited

The US Department of Energy concluded the most likely origin of the COVID-19 pandemic was an unintentional lab leak in China, according to sources citing a classified report. The findings reverse a 2021 analysis from the department but were said to have included new intelligence; specific details were not provided.

The report adds to the uncertainty around the pandemic's origins. The recent report was made with "low confidence," but agrees with an earlier FBI report made with "medium confidence." However, four other US government agencies, as well as the National Intelligence Council, concluded the virus probably spilled over from a natural source. An analysis from the CIA remained undecided. An on-the-ground follow-up probe by the World Health Organization was recently blocked by China.

Proponents of a lab leak origin point to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, located where the first major outbreak was observed. Studies have pointed to wet markets as a point of origin, particularly the handling of animals that are known virus reservoirs.

See a review of the first major outbreak here.

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