China Calls Biden 'Laughing Stock' as COVID Origins Probe Reportedly Ends Inconclusively

After months of research, the Intelligence Community is reportedly still at a loss for the definitive origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, a result Chinese state media used to discredit President Joe Biden.

Biden received a classified report about the COVID-19 origin from the Intelligence Community on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post. The hope was that the report would yield a better understanding about the COVID-19 origin, but the Intelligence Community is still reportedly unable to reach a consensus on whether the virus occurred naturally or originated in a laboratory.

China vehemently denies the pandemic could have begun with a laboratory accident, accusing those who float the theory of using the pandemic to forward an anti-China agenda. Ahead of the release of the report, the Global Times, a state-run media outlet chastised the origin investigation for being led by the Intelligence Community and not scientists.

"Having an intelligence team to look for virus origins is ridiculous enough, and it's unsurprising that Biden would end up with no definitive answer, but if Biden seeks another investigation, it will downgrade his administration's credibility and make it a laughing stock," Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist at Wuhan University, told the Global Times.

In May, Biden ordered the Intelligence Community to redouble their efforts to bring the world "closer to a definitive conclusion" as to the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the order, two elements of the Intelligence Community were leaning toward the hypothesis that COVID-19 originated naturally and one was leaning toward a laboratory accident.

After 90 days, the length of time Biden gave the Intelligence Community to deliver an updated assessment, it appears little is definitively known about the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's a possibility that Avril Haines, director of the National Intelligence, signaled could happen in June.

While the Intelligence Community was hoping to find a "smoking gun," Haines told Yahoo! it's "challenging to do that." Both hypotheses being on the table and investigators only being able to say one is more likely than another is exactly what a team of international experts found in March.

A team of two dozen international and Chinese experts drew the same conclusions as the Intelligence Community after an investigatory mission to China. Beijing used the report as an exoneration of its lab, as researchers deemed the lab leak hypothesis the least likely of four possible scenarios, but Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, kept all options on the table.

joe biden covid origin probe
Chinese state media said the Intelligence Community's report on the COVID-19 origin made President Joe Biden a "laughing stock." Biden speaks about the situation in Afghanistan in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on August 24 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Ghebreyesus, who sang China's praises at the start of the pandemic, said in March researchers had problems accessing raw data and set expectations that China would be more forthcoming with information in the future. Beijing denied researchers were given less than everything they needed and has largely rejected the possibility of future investigations.

On Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin dismissed the validity of the forthcoming Intelligence Community report, calling it anti-science.

"The US intelligence community has a poor record in history. It is impossible that it would draft the report based on facts and truth. This report will be nothing but a patchwork of so-called evidence based on predetermined conclusions, with the aim of shifting blames onto others. It is not credible at all," Wang said.

Throughout the pandemic, China attempted to shift attention away from Wuhan, where the first known cases were identified, as the origin to other parts of the world. Officials have pointed fingers at countries in Europe and pushed a theory that COVID-19 may have originated at Fort Detrick in Maryland. Despite offering little evidence to back up the Fort Detrick theory, Chinese officials have repeatedly called for an investigation into the laboratory.

Experts previously told Newsweek it's possible we may never know the true origin of COVID-19 and Jon Andrus, a professor of global health at George Washington University, said a retrospective analysis is like using the "scientific method with one hand tied behind your back."

The Intelligence Community's report leaves many questions still unanswered, according to The Washington Post, including how the virus may have jumped from animals to humans, how it may have escaped from a lab and when and where the pandemic began.

Answering those questions would largely rely on China's cooperation, which the United States and even the global community is unlikely to receive. Many have also called into question China's ability to be honest, given the closed nature of the country, making it difficult for people to have confidence in what they're being told about the early days of the pandemic.