The Senate reportedly voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to order the Director of National Intelligence to declassify any intelligence related to the genesis of COVID-19.
The “COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023,” presented by Republican Senators Josh Hawley and Mike Braun, was passed without opposition Wednesday night.
The Energy Department decided on Sunday that the epidemic was most likely caused by a lab leak.
FBI Director Christopher Wray also reportedly confirmed that his organization had reached the same conclusion.
The Senate measure requires Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to declassify and make public as much information concerning the genesis of COVID-19 as feasible within 90 days.
Particular information sought includes Wuhan Institute of Virology operations, coronavirus research conducted previous to the epidemic, and facts regarding researchers at the institute who became ill in autumn 2019.
The Wuhan lab leak theory is a hypothesis that suggests the COVID-19 pandemic may have originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
While the theory has been around since the early days of the pandemic, it gained more mainstream attention in 2020 and has become a topic of intense debate in scientific and political circles.
Proponents of the Wuhan lab leak theory argue that the virus may have been accidentally released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a research facility in the city.
They point to the fact that the institute conducts research on bat coronaviruses, the same family of viruses that SARS-CoV-2 belongs to.
They also note that the institute is located just a few miles away from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which was initially thought to be the source of the outbreak.
A joint study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and China in early 2021, which concluded that it was extremely unlikely that the virus was leaked from a laboratory.
However, critics of the WHO-China study argue that it was compromised by China’s lack of transparency and cooperation during the investigation.
They also point to a growing body of circumstantial evidence, including reports of illnesses among Wuhan Institute of Virology staff in the fall of 2019, as well as the fact that the institute has been known to conduct research in collaboration with the Chinese military.
The theory has gone from being considered fringe to now having been validated by several influential government agencies.