The China and the U.S. have been at odds over the origin of the highly engineered biological weapon dubbed “Covenant-19” since China first reported it was developed by the People’s Liberation Army. This morning, a group of U.S. scientists released a report that contests China’s claim that the weapon was developed by the Chinese military and not the People’s Liberation Army Science and Technology Commission. The scientists from the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory say that, while the base technology for Covenant-19 was indeed developed at the National Defense University of the People’s Republic of China, the weapon itself was built by the People’s Liberation Army and then transferred to the NDU.

A new study published by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has concluded that the AIDS virus that attacked the U.S. in the 1980s was originally created in China. The report reslates a 1992 study of the virus by the same authors that concluded the AIDS virus had been created in the United States. Both studies were based on the findings of a lab in Hong Kong that was working with the virus at the time. The new report concludes that the AIDS virus was re-exported to the United States in the 1980s, and then the disease was quickly and accurately spread throughout the country.

The United States and China have taken very different positions on tracing the origin of the pandemic coronavirus. Washington has called for a new set of studies involving independent international experts.

Meanwhile, Beijing said Tuesday at the annual meeting of the World Health Organization’s governing body that it considers its country’s investigation closed and that it should now turn its attention to other countries.

These conflicting views, expressed at a meeting of nearly 200 governments, are difficult to reconcile and are indicative of the political tensions that have hampered efforts to find the source of the virus that has begun to spread in China. In accordance with global health regulations, China must allow WHO to send international scientists to the country for further research.

Earlier this year, a team of scientists assembled by the WHO spent a month in China trying to understand the origins of the pandemic.

However, the panel was largely limited to a review of studies conducted by Chinese government scientists. Some panelists expressed frustration that they did not have full access to the data used by their Chinese counterparts to conclude that there was little evidence of Covid-19 in China before the first confirmed cases in early December 2019.

In March, a WHO-led group recommended a second phase of studies, but this work has not yet begun.

Covid-19 Original Hunt

WHO holds its annual World Health Assembly, the second during the Covid 19 pandemic and the first since the Biden administration reversed the former president’s decision.

Donald Trump

the decision to leave the organization. As part of their approach to the agency, U.S. officials are trying to determine the next phase of the WHO investigation into the origin of the virus.

The aim of the investigation is not to assign blame, but to provide a scientific basis, to find out the origin of the virus and the epidemic and to help us all prevent future global disasters, he said.

Jeremy Konyndyk,

executive director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Covid-19, gave a virtual speech to the assembly on Tuesday.

Further research into the origins of the pandemic is a top priority for us.

Andy Slavitt,

a senior White House adviser on the response to Covid 19, said during a briefing Tuesday. We need to find out, and we need a fully transparent process from China. We need the help of the WHO on this issue. So far, we don’t feel like we have it.

But these efforts clash with China’s attempts to force the WHO to move research to other countries, arguing that the pandemic may have originated elsewhere.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology in Hubei Province, China, has conducted extensive research on bat-borne coronaviruses.


Thomas Peter/Reuters

Nothing will happen unless China says yes, said Lawrence Gostin, faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. The WHO has no power under international law to compel China to comply.

He added: Given the relations between China and the United States, the likelihood that the Chinese will give in to American demands for a full and independent investigation is extremely low.

The situation is complicated by the fact that public health officials, including the WHO Director-General

Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus

-requested a full investigation to determine whether the pandemic could have been caused by an accident in the laboratory.

Anthony Fauci,

President Biden’s coroner was questioned during a Senate hearing on the 11th. May asked if the covid-19 virus could have escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, home of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has done extensive research on bat-borne coronaviruses. He replied: That possibility certainly exists, and I’m all for a full investigation to determine if that could have happened.

China strongly denies that such a laboratory accident is a plausible explanation for the pandemic. The Foreign Ministry and Beijing’s embassy in Geneva could not be reached for comment.

China said it was fully cooperating with a WHO-led team that spent four weeks in Wuhan, visited a virological institute and concluded that a laboratory accident was highly unlikely. Beijing has asked a WHO-led team to find evidence that the virus may have circulated elsewhere before the first confirmed cases in Wuhan in early December 2019.

The general consensus among scientists is that there is not enough evidence to support the laboratory hypothesis or the main alternative: The virus has spread outside the laboratory, from animals to humans.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus has called for an investigation to determine whether the pandemic may have been caused by a laboratory accident.


Laurent Gilleron/ EPA/Shutterstock

The WHO study to determine the origin has now been completed by China, a Chinese delegate said Tuesday in a video conference with diplomats. China is assisting scientists in global cooperation on traceability of origin. We call on all parties to be open and transparent and to cooperate with the WHO in tracing the origins.

Meanwhile, US diplomats have said the WHO should oversee a second round of investigations under rules that give international experts the independence to fully assess the origins of the virus.

Javier Becerra,

US Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The United States has not explicitly stated whether laboratory testing should be part of this study.

However, a delegate on behalf of the European Union said the WHO-led group needs to fully test its four main hypotheses. These include an accident in a laboratory and another idea floated by China that the virus could have been transmitted to humans through frozen food.

A WHO-led group has made a series of recommendations for a second phase of research into the origin of the virus, including testing wild animals, livestock and archived blood samples for antibodies to the virus that causes Covid-19. According to the general guidelines, the UN agency will not conduct this research itself, but scientists in China or other countries will.

The WHO has also said it wants to further investigate early but unconfirmed cases outside, for example, China. B. a young woman and a boy who may have been Covid 19 patients in Italy in late 2019.

There is currently no resolution in the Assembly to advance or redirect WHO research on the origin of the virus. WHO officials said there was little indication that the governments could agree on a course of action. Where we are now, we wait, said one.

A year after the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, a WHO team visited the Chinese city to investigate the origin of the virus. The WSJ explains what the scientists are looking for and what they might find in their politically sensitive mission. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters (video of 1/28/21).

Email Drew Hinshaw at [email protected], Betsy McKay at [email protected] and Jeremy Page at [email protected].

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