The Wall Street Journal says a report issued by a U.S. government laboratory last year concluded that a theory that the COVID-19 pandemic originated due to a leak from a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan is plausible and deserved further investigation.
The classified report, prepared in May 2020 by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, was used by the U.S. State Department when it conducted an inquiry into the pandemic’s origins during the final months of the Trump administration.
The Journal said Lawrence Livermore has considerable expertise on biological issues, and drew its assessment on genomic analysis of the version of the SARS virus which causes COVID-19.
U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered the national intelligence community to investigate the origins of the virus. Intelligence agencies are considering whether COVID-19 was triggered by a laboratory accident or emerged from human contact with an infected animal.
In other news, Agence France Presse is reporting that China has approved emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as three years old, making it the first country to offer the vaccine to young children.
A spokesperson for Chinese-based pharmaceutical company Sinovac told AFP its vaccine has been approved for emergency use for children between three and 17 years old. But the spokesperson did not confirm when the shots would be administered to the age group, saying the schedule will be decided by the National Health Commission “according to China’s current epidemic prevention and control needs and vaccine supply.”
The company has completed early phase trials of the vaccine in children and adolescents, with results to be published shortly in the Lancet scientific journal, the spokesman added.