President Biden Shuts Down Inquiry Seeking to Determine If COVID-19 Originated in a Chinese Lab

  Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Wednesday, May 26, 2021
President Biden Shuts Down Inquiry Seeking to Determine If COVID-19 Originated in a Chinese Lab

President Joe Biden has shut down an effort started by the Trump administration seeking to prove the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab.

The State Department inquiry was launched last fall under former President Donald Trump and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Supporters said the inquiry was an "honest effort" to investigate whether China's biological weapons research had led to the pandemic.

Earlier this year, Biden officials questioned the inquiry's legitimacy and said the project was an ineffective use of resources. A source told CNN that the inquiry was canceled.

Biden officials are still looking into how the virus may have emerged.

"Even though this discrete project has concluded, the State Department continues to work with the interagency to look into the COVID origins issue," a State Department spokesman said.

Most recently, a U.S. Intelligence Report found that several researchers at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology became ill in November 2019 and were hospitalized.

In May 2020, Pompeo claimed that there was "enormous evidence" that coronavirus originated from the Wuhan Institute.

The original inquiry looked at public and classified information in its investigation. The Chinese government is part of major international agreements that prohibit developing, producing, transferring or stockpiling bacteriological and toxin weapons. Some have said China has maintained an offensive biological weapons program despite those agreements. China has consistently denied this.

"People in the U.S. government were working on the question of where COVID-19 came from, but there was no other effort that we knew of that took the lab leak possibility seriously enough to focus on digging into certain aspects, questions and uncertainties," said David Feith, a former senior State Department official.

Meanwhile, critics of the inquiry said the investigation seemed "suspicious."

"The way they did their work was suspicious as hell," a former State Department official said. "They basically conducted it in secret, cutting out the State Department's technical experts and the Intelligence community."

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Panorama Images

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.