US Intelligence: CCP Virus Not Manmade or Genetically Modified

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
April 30, 2020Updated: April 30, 2020

The CCP virus wasn’t manmade or genetically modified, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the head of the U.S. intelligence community (IC), stated that the community “concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified.”

The office didn’t state how it came to the conclusion.

“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 office said in the April 30 statement.

The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, originated in China in 2019 before spreading around the world, infecting millions, and killing hundreds of thousands.

Wuhan Institute of Virology
An aerial view shows the P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei Province on April 17, 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images)

The area where it emerged is near the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a high-level laboratory where scientists study how coronaviruses leap from animals to humans.

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that circulate among animals that can, in rare cases, jump from animals to humans before starting to spread from person to person.

Yuan Zhiming, director of the National Biosafety Laboratory at the lab, told Reuters in a statement that the lab didn’t have the capacity to design a new coronavirus and that no information within the CCP virus genome indicates it was manmade. He also said the lab didn’t accidentally release a virus it harvested from bats for research.

The Chinese regime has blocked access to the Wuhan lab, U.S. officials said on April 29.

Epoch Times Photo
Chinese virologist Dr. Shi Zhengli inside the P4 laboratory, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, in Wuhan, capital of China’s Hubei Province, on Feb. 23, 2017. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

“Look, we still haven’t gained access—the world hasn’t gained access to the WIV, the virology institute there,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. “We don’t know precisely where this virus originated from.”

Communist officials have spread conspiracy theories that the United States originally took the virus to China before its emergence, but no evidence supports that claim.

President Donald Trump told reporters earlier in April that U.S. officials were “doing a very thorough examination” of the situation. Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that U.S. officials “have taken a keen interest” in the origin of the virus and intelligence personnel have taken “a hard look” at it.

“I would just say at this point, it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural, but we don’t know for certain,” he said.

Bowen Xiao contributed to this report.