1228 GMT June 15, 2021
The Wall Street Journal has cited people familiar with a classified report on the origins of coronavirus pandemic by a US government national laboratory as saying that the lab leak theory deserves further investigation, according to Press TV.
According to the report, the study was prepared in May last year by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and was referred to by the State Department when it conducted an inquiry into the pandemic's origins during the final months of the administration of former president Donald Trump.
President Joe Biden in late May directed the US intelligence community to investigate the origins of COVID-19 and find out whether the coronavirus has been transmitted to humans from an infected animal or from a laboratory accident, giving it 90 days to report back to him.
The Chinese Embassy in the US decried the allegations as baseless, saying scientists are the party who should figure out the origin of the virus rather than intelligence services.
"The origins of COVID19 is a matter of science and should be jointly studied by scientists worldwide, rather than be politicized. Any conclusion must be drawn in line with WHO procedures and following science-base methods," Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the embassy, said in a tweet late on Monday.
The embassy even went on to draw an analogy between the lab leak claims and the debunked US allegations of weapons of mass destruction stockpiles in Iraq prior to the launch of war on the Middle Eastern country.
“The campaign to politicize the study of origins and smear China is no different from the lies about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) 12 years ago,” he added.
The US invaded Iraq in 2003 to topple the then dictator Saddam Hussein under the pretext of dismantling Saddam’s arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.
Later investigations into the Iraq war in Britain, a key ally of the US in the war, proved that the invasion had relied on fabricated intelligence about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in the Arab country.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in China in December 2019, the origin of the new coronavirus has been widely discussed online, with conspiracy theories emerging around it.
The pandemic became a political tool at the hands of Trump, who routinely called the pathogen “the Wuhan virus”.
China has repeatedly floated the theory that the virus was brought to the country through packaging on products such as frozen seafood, a theory the WHO team has not ruled out.