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No Clear Answer

US intelligence agencies were unable to conclude how SARS-CoV-2 arose, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In late May, President Joe Biden urged intelligence agencies in the US to increase their efforts investigating the origins of SARS-CoV-2. A report from that time indicated that the agencies had homed in on two different possibilities: that the virus jumped to humans through contact with an infected animal or that people were exposed through a laboratory accident. A World Health Organization-led investigation has concluded that SARS-CoV-2 likely arose in bats and that the lab leak theory was "extremely unlikely," though questions about that investigation's access to needed data have arisen.

The Journal reports that the intelligence agencies, too, were stymied by a lack of data. "It was a deep dive, but you can only go so deep as the situation allows," one US official tells it. "If China's not going to give access to certain datasets, you're never really going to know."

The Washington Post reports that many researchers say a zoonotic origin is the most plausible, though it could take years to pinpoint which infected animal passed it on to people.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, says the public will be informed of what the report found, the Post adds.