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The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the clearinghouse for the web of U.S. spy agencies, said it had ruled out the virus being man-made but was still investigating the precise source of the global pandemic, which has killed more than 220,000 people worldwide, AP reported Thursday.
U.S. intelligence agencies are debunking a conspiracy theory, saying they have concluded that the new coronavirus was “not manmade or genetically modified." But they say they are still examining a notion put forward by the president and aides that the pandemic may have resulted from an accident at a Chinese lab, NBC New York informed.
The new statement says, “The Intelligence Community (IC) also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified."
"The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence 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.”
The new statement comes amid reports that Trump has asked intelligence officials to investigate whether the virus originated from a Chinese government laboratory.
For its part, the Chinese government earlier on Thursday said that any claims that the coronavirus was released from a laboratory are “unfounded and purely fabricated out of nothing,” ABC News reported.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang cited the institute’s director, Yuan Zhiming, as saying the lab strictly implements bio-security procedures that would prevent the release of any pathogen.
“I would like to point out again that the origin of the virus is a complex scientific issue, and it should be studied by scientists and professionals,” Geng said.
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