The Office of the US Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said on Friday that theories involving transmission from animals or a leak from a lab were plausible.
However, the bureau added that analysts could not agree on what was most likely or if a firm conclusion could be drawn at all.
They rejected suggestions that the virus originated from a biological weapon, however, saying supporters of the theory “do not have direct access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
The office also said the authors of this theory have been accused of spreading disinformation.
Wuhan is the city in China where cases of COVID-19 were first detected.
Some US spy agencies have backed the theory that the virus originated in nature, but there has been little evidence of this in recent months.
In the ODNI report, which is an update of a 90-day review that President Joe Biden’s administration released in August, four agencies concluded that there was “low confidence” that the virus had been initially transmitted from an animal to a human.
While a fifth agency said it had “moderate confidence” that the first human infection was linked to a laboratory.
The report also pointed out that the global scientific community does not have “clinical samples or a full understanding of the epidemiological data of the first cases of COVID-19”, making it difficult to properly assess the theories.
China has been criticized for not being more cooperative in investigating the origins of COVID-19 and views differ in the United States on the importance of blaming China.
Donald Trump, who was President of the United States in the early months of the pandemic, called the virus a “Chinese virus,” making it clear where he placed the blame.
In response to the intelligence report, the Chinese Embassy in Washington said in a statement to Reuters news agency: “We support scientific efforts on the search for origins and will continue to remain actively engaged. Having said that, we strongly oppose attempts at politicization. this issue. ”