It has been over four months since the novel coronavirus outbreak was reported in China, but the exact place of its origin is still contested. While China asserts that it originated at a Wuhan wet market, where exotic animals were slaughtered for consumption, USA's top leadership has publicly claimed a number of times that the virus originated at Wuhan Institute of Virology, situated a few kilometres away from the animal market.
Five Eyes network, an alliance between the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada has in a 15-page dossier, delved into the issue of virus' origin.
What did Five Eyes network dossier state?
Intelligence shared between Five Eyes network indicate that it was "highly unlikely" that coronavirus culminated from an accident at the Wuhan Virology lab, CNN quoted two officials familiar with the intel. Thus, the case gets stronger for the Chinese version that disease outbreak took place at a local wet market and it spread among humans from an animal source [probably bats].
However a third source familiar with the intel told CNN that there is still a possibility that the virus originated from a lab, but there isn't any evidence to back that claim. "Clearly the market is where it exploded from," the source said, but how it got to the market remains unclear.
However, all Five Eyes nations were of the opinion that China hasn't been transparent about how coronavirus initially spread in Wuhan late last year. It silenced the whistle-blowers, throttled information and delayed informing the world about the emergence of a new disease.
What do experts believe about coronavirus' origin?
In an interview with National Geographic that was published on Monday, Dr Anthony Fauci, USA's top infectious disease expert said that he doesn't believe that coronavirus was developed in a lab. "If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what's out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated", Dr Fauci said. According to him, the virus "evolved in nature and then jumped species".
As per a US intel report issued on Thursday, April 30, coronavirus wasn't man-made or genetically modified, but they're still working to "determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan".
USA's top leadership stresses on Wuhan Virology lab
On multiple occasions, US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have asserted that they've evidence that the disease originated from Wuhan lab. At Thursday's press briefing, on being asked if he had a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of this virus, Trump replied in affirmative. On being asked to share the details, he declined to comment any further.
On Sunday Pompeo told ABC News: "I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan." He didn't provide any evidence for his claim.