US intelligence report reveals China’s ambition for biological weapons

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had called on China to share the data requested by the world health body to better understand the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic

Livemint (with inputs from ANI)
First Published28 Dec 2022
A US intelligence report revealed China's biological weapons ambition long before Covid outbreak.
A US intelligence report revealed China’s biological weapons ambition long before Covid outbreak.(Reuters)

Scepticism around China's plans to develop biological weapons are not new. A recent US intelligence report claims that China had admitted to wanting to develop biological weapons long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world.

A declassified report on the Intelligence Community's (IC) response to the COVID-19 pandemic was made public on 15 December by the House Intelligence Committee after a two-year investigation.

The report looks at the IC's position to support global health security policymakers, the IC's performance during the early COVID-19 pandemic months, and the actions the IC must take to improve any future pandemic response.

"In 2005, the US State Department publicly stated the US assessment that China also operates an offensive biological weapons program, specifically identifying two Chinese entities as likely involved, one of which is the Fifth Institute. In a 2006 declaration of compliance with the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention, China acknowledged that the Fifth Institute specifically researches SARS coronaviruses," the report reads, as quoted by Indo-Pacific Centre for Strategic Communications.

The book "The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Artificial Humanized Viruses as Genetic Weapons," published by AMMS in 2015, was also mentioned in the US Intelligence report.

The report states, “The book described how to create weaponised chimeric SARS coronaviruses, the potentially broader scope for their use compared to traditional bioweapons, and the benefits of being able to plausibly deny that such chimeric coronaviruses were artificially created rather than naturally occurring.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged China last week to provide the information requested by the international health organisation in order to help researchers better understand the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Gaps in our understanding of post COVID19 condition mean we don't understand how best to treat people suffering with the long-term consequences of infection. Gaps in our understanding of how this pandemic began compromise our ability to prevent future pandemics," the WHO chief said during a weekly press conference.

He further stated, "We continue to call on China to share the data and conduct the studies we have requested, and which we continue to request. As I have said many times before, all hypotheses about the origins of this pandemic remain on the table."

Exactly how SARS-CoV-2 first emerged as a respiratory pathogen capable of sustained human-to-human transmission remains a matter of active debate three years after its appearance in Wuhan, China.

Experts have proposed two leading hypotheses regarding the virus's genesis. According to the first hypothesis, SARS-CoV-2 spreads naturally among zoonotic species. The second hypothesis holds that a research-related incident led to the virus's human infection.

(With inputs from ANI)

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