The Biden administration released its findings Friday from a 90-day investigation into the origin of the coronavirus and said it was unable to definitively conclude where the virus originated from.
"The IC assesses that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, probably emerged and infected humans through an initial small-scale exposure that occurred no later than November 2019 with the first known cluster of COVID-19 cases arising in Wuhan, China in December 2019," the report’s summary states.
The summary added: "We judge the virus was not developed as a biological weapon. Most agencies also assess with low confidence that SARS-CoV-2 probably was not genetically engineered; however, two agencies believe there was not sufficient evidence to make an assessment either way. Finally, the IC assesses China’s officials did not have foreknowledge of the virus before the initial outbreak of COVID-19 emerged."
The report states that China would need to fully cooperate with the investigation in order to definitively conclude where the virus originated.
"China’s cooperation most likely would be needed to reach a conclusive assessment of the origins of COVID-19," the report states. "Beijing, however, continues to hinder the global investigation, resist sharing information and blame other countries, including the United States. These actions reflect, in part, China’s government’s own uncertainty about where an investigation could lead as well as its frustration the international community is using the issue to exert political pressure on China."
The report says that investigators were split between two different theories. The first theory is that natural exposure to an infected animal started the pandemic and the second is that a "laboratory-associated incident" was the cause.
Both of those theories were considered "plausible" by all agencies involved in the investigation, according to the report.
In a statement, Biden said that China had obstructed efforts to investigate the virus "from the beginning."
"The world deserves answers, and I will not rest until we get them," he said. "Responsible nations do not shirk these kinds of responsibilities to the rest of the world."
China’s foreign ministry attacked the U.S. investigation ahead of the report’s release. Fu Cong, a foreign ministry director general, said at a briefing for foreign journalists that "scapegoating China cannot whitewash the U.S."
"If they want to baselessly accuse China, they better be prepared to accept the counterattack from China," he said.
Associated Press contributed to this report