US lawmaker publishes report on COVID-19 lab leak theory

Ranking member of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Republican Michael McCall has released a report on the COVID-19 origins supporting the lab leak theory, Fox News announced on Monday.

"As we continue to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe it is time to completely dismiss the wet market as the source of the outbreak. Instead, as this report lays out, a preponderance of the evidence proves that all roads lead to the WIV [Wuhan Institute of Virology]," McCall stated, noting that the virus had spread earlier than September 12. Also, the US lawmaker urged both parties in Congress to carry out a joint investigation.

McCall's report also claims that the Wuhan Institute of Virology may have been working on genetically modified viruses. The document points out a possible lack of safety at this research center. Furthermore, McCall mentioned that in the summer of 2019, the WIV was on the hunt for specialists to update air disinfection, hazardous waste treatment, and air conditioning systems.

According to the Hill newspaper, the authors of the report "do not claim to have a smoking gun to definitively prove their claims", however, their goal is "crafting a legislative response <...> and imposing cost on China". The authors call for the introduction of sanctions against the WIV’s scientists and the members of the Chinese Communist Party who were responsible for the anti-coronavirus measures in the early days of the pandemic.

In July, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the second phase of studying the origins of COVID-19. After that, he admitted that the spread of infection could be caused by the emergency situation in the Chinese laboratory. The US Intelligence Community also tested the lab leak theory but has not yet arrived at a final conclusion