A federal agency has changed its conclusions about the origin of the Covid-19 virus. Allie Rasmus reports
A federal agency has changed its conclusions about the origin of the Covid-19 virus.
Investigators with the U.S. Department of Energy had previously said they believed the virus spread from an animal to humans, but now, in an updated, classified report says it is more likely that the virus came from an accident at a lab in Wuhan, China.
The agency would not go into detail about what new information or analysis led to the change in conclusions.
"Most pandemics, most outbreaks happened from natural spillover in the wild," said Fox News Medical contributor, Dr. Nicole Saphier. "But, to date they haven't found a genetically similar virus that causes Covid-19 in the wild."
The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Intelligence is one of 18 agencies that make up the U.S. government's intelligence sector.
There is no consensus among the various agencies about how the virus emerged.
The FBI supported the lab leak theory with "moderate confidence."
Four other agencies, including the National Intelligence Panel disagree and believe the pandemic was more likely sparked by animal-to-human transmission. The CIA is undecided.
"Some elements of the intelligence community have reached conclusions on one side, some on the other. A number of them have said they just don't have enough information to be sure," National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union program.
Mark Schwartz, adjunct professor of biology at San Jose State University said there is also little consensus on Covid's origins within the scientific community.
"There've been quite a number of viral jumps from animals to humans. This was not the first and won't be the last. I think it's a toss up, it could go either way," he said about the two theories on how the virus emerged. "I don't think we're ever really going to learn where it came from, I don't think China's ever going to give us the access or transparency to learn that."
In 2021, Investigators with the World Health Organization and officials from China concluded Covid 19 likely spread from an animal to humans. However, that investigation was widely criticized as being limited in scope and without the full transparency and cooperation of the Chinese government.
Some Republican members of Congress have called for hearings and further investigation of Covid's origins, following the updated Dept. of Energy report.
"I think in America there's going to be a lot of political jostling and finger-pointing, and ultimately nothing," said Schwartz. "The real take-home message, there will be future pandemics, we're sure of that."
The updated report comes as California's Covid State of Emergency is set to end, Tuesday.
After that date, Covid vaccines and treatments like Paxlovid will still be required to be covered by insurance under California law, but people without insurance may see costs going up.
The federal public health and national emergency period for Covid is scheduled to end on May 11.
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