The Biden administration ended an inquiry into a possible connection between the origins of the novel coronavirus and a lab in Wuhan, a CNN report published Tuesday claims.
The State Department launched the previously-undisclosed inquiry last fall under President Trump – but the effort was shut down this spring because of “concerns about the quality of its work,” CNN reported, citing three unnamed sources.
Allies of Mike Pompeo, Trump’s Secretary of State, were looking into the possibility that the coronavirus pandemic may have started in Wuhan Institute of Virology and not in nature, CNN reported.
But after the changeover in administrations, concerns were raised early in 2021 about draft findings of the probe shared with Biden’s team, CNN said.
The State Department confirmed to CNN that the inquiry had stopped but said it is continuing to work with other agencies on “COVID origins issues.”
Pompeo, now a Fox News contributor, told the network this week he believed the virus originated in a lab and that the China’s government was covering up.
“I am confident that we will find that the evidence that we have seen to date is consistent with a lab leak and I’m convinced that’s what we’ll see,” he said.
“If I am wrong, I hope the Chinese Communist Party will come forward and make a fool of me.”
The possibility that the pandemic started because of a laboratory accident has gained renewed interest after a Wall Street Journal report that said three workers at the Wuhan lab were hospitalized in November 2019 prior to the first reported cases of COVID-19.
Their symptoms were consistent with the virus but may have been other illnesses, according to analyses.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has also said he isn’t convinced COVID-19 developed naturally.
“I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened,” said Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser.
The State Department’s inquiry grew “contentious” last year as some questioned whether the investigation was part of a Trump administration effort to blame China for the outbreak, CNN said, citing sources.
CNN quoted one former State Department official as calling the work “suspicious as hell” and saying those leading the probe cut out technical experts.