President Joe Biden said Wednesday he has asked the intelligence community to “redouble their efforts” to find the likely origins of COVID-19 and provide him with a report within 90 days.
Biden said that questions continue to grow about whether the coronavirus was caused by an accident in a Chinese laboratory or if it developed from human contact with an infected animal.
Biden said he’s asked for further inquiries that may be required, including specific questions for China.
“I have also asked that this effort include work by our national labs and other agencies of our government to augment the intelligence community’s efforts,” he said in a statement.
Biden said the U.S. intelligence community has “coalesced around two likely scenarios,” but had not reached a “definitive conclusion.”
He said while two elements of the intelligence community lean toward the likelihood that the virus emerged from human contact with an infected animal, another leans “towards the possibility of a laboratory accident.”
The majority of the intelligence community members, he noted, “do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other.”
“The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence.”
The origin of the COVID-19 virus was a topic at a Senate appropriations committee hearing Wednesday, where Republican senators questioned Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, about the lab leak theory.
Fauci said he still believes the virus occurred naturally, but supported the idea that investigations should continue to determine what happened.