In tracing the origins of the novel coronavirus, the United States is acting out its own preset script dictated by a political hand, instead of scientific opinion. On May 26, President Joe Biden said he had asked the intelligence community to share its reports on the likely origins of COVID-19 within 90 days. As the deadline looms, U.S. media recently reported intelligence agencies are digging through genetic data that could prove vital to uncovering the virus' origins. The somewhat absurd approach of having these agencies investigate the source of a virus has not gone unnoticed by the international community.
China was the first to report the novel coronavirus to the World Health Organization (WHO), but later research uncovered infections in countries such as the U.S., Italy and Spain before cases emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, in December 2019.
Joint research on the virus' origins conducted in China by an international team of scientists headed by the World Health Organization has concluded that COVID-19 is "extremely unlikely" to have stemmed from a laboratory. This science-based conclusion, however, is obviously not in line with the expectations of U.S. politicians who need a weapon to contain China.
The political manipulation on the part of the U.S. has undermined international teamwork in tracing the virus back to its source. China will not comply with any request for a second phase of origin tracing based on the presumption of guilt.
Previous knowledge has taught scientists that a virus may not cause an epidemic immediately upon entering human society. For instance, AIDS broke out in the U.S. in the early 1980s, but HIV, the virus behind AIDS, is thought to have jumped from animals to humans in Africa in the 1930s.
A second phase of origin tracing should therefore be conducted in countries having witnessed earlier cases. U.S. politicians will never succeed in forging evidence that will entrap China. The rational path is to work with the international community to find the true origins of the virus so that humanity will respond to future public health emergencies more effectively.