U.S. Senate, House unanimously vote to declassify origins of COVID-19

The United States House of Representatives voted unanimously Friday to declassify intelligence about the origins of COVID-19.

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The bill, COVID–19 Origin Act of 2023, was introduced after news surfaced that the virus had potential links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a research institute in China that is administered by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and reports to the State Council.

The United States Energy Department concluded with “low confidence” that COVID-19 could have originated from a laboratory leak, AP News reported. Their report rekindled conversations about where COVID-19 came from.

Researchers initially pointed to a Wuhan market where live animals were sold, allowing for an interspecies transfer of the virus to humans, AP News continued. The market was considered the epicenter of the outbreak and bats, the original species carrying the virus.

However, as the pandemic progressed and long after it ended, intelligence communities began arguing that the virus was a laboratory leak. One of the fervent supporters of this theory was FBI Director Christopher Wray who stated that the FBI “has for quite some time now” assessed that the pandemic’s origins are “most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.”

With growing public interest in the origins of the pandemic and the assessment that the virus was likely not a laboratory leak, COVID–19 Origin Act of 2023 was introduced and voted on throughout the month of March.

The United States Senate passed the bill unanimously back on Wednesday, March 1.

On Friday, the United States House of Representatives unanimously passed the bill as well, 419-0.

Now, the bill will await President Joe Biden’s signature to become enacted as a law of the land.

The bill will mandate the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to declassify all information relating to potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin of COVID-19, as described on Congress’ online database of legislative information.