British intelligence operatives now believe it is ‘feasible’ the coronavirus pandemic began with a leak from a research laboratory in Wuhan.
They are now investigating the possibility that a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a Chinese research facility, sparked the global crisis which has sparked more than 3.5 million deaths.
Western intelligence agencies had seemingly written off the ‘remote’ chance that the laboratory – where research into bat-derived coronaviruses is conducted – had played a role, but a recent reassessment has meant the leak theory is considered ‘feasible’, sources say.
The development, which Beijing has angrily denied, has prompted US diplomatic sources to share their concerns ‘we are one wet market or bio lab away from the next spillover’, The Sunday Times reports.
The UK government issued a statement asserting that “all possible theories” as to the origin of COVID-19 must be explored, becoming the latest official entity to refuse to rule out the lab leak explanation.
Chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, Tom Tugendhat, said: ‘The silence coming from Wuhan is troubling. We need to open the crypt and see what happened to be able to protect ourselves in the future. That means starting an investigation, along with partners around the world and in the WHO.’
Last week US President Joe Biden told intelligence agencies to look into the lab leak theory, along with other possible origins for the coronavirus, and deliver a report to him within 90 days.