In an unprecedented move, the US Congress, dominated by the Republican Party, has passed a bill unanimously asking the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information on the origins of Covid 19 and sent the measure to President Joe Biden's desk for approval.
The move is aimed at demystifying several conspiracy theories surrounding the alleged deliberate leak of the genetically engineered SARC Cov 2 virus, a weaponised flu virus, to test its efficacy. The alleged leak or accidental release of the virus from Wuhan lab of Hubei province of China devastated the world killing 5 million people around the globe and infecting 50 million people worldwide, the maximum being in the US and India, just as the Spanish Flu did in 1928 to 1930.
Conspiracy theories abound as a mysterious woman technician from the lab became a whistleblower claiming the virus was leaked from the lab. However, after the whistle-blower disappeared, and nothing was heard of her, the WHO officially stated that the virus had accidentally leaked from the lab.
Subsequently, investigations by the US media revealed that the Wuhan lab was funded for genetic engineering experiments by the US government. This was publicly acknowledged by the special health advisor to the President and the NIAID Director, Dr Anthony Fauci, who has since laid down office.
Fauci, the longtime chief of the Laboratory of Immuno-regulation and making many contributions to basic and clinical research on the pathogenesis and treatment of immune-mediated and infectious diseases, was in the firing line as the long-time director of NIAID for not containing Covid in the US.
The House of Representatives, which was retaken by the Republicans from the Democrats in November last year with a wafer thin majority, passed a bill to require the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information on Covid's origins.
The bill to declassify information about the virus' origins and any information linking it to a Chinese lab was passed by the House unanimously, 419-0, with 16 members not voting. The Senate passed the measure by unanimous consent last week, media reports said.
Asked on Friday whether he would sign the legislation into law, Biden told reporters: "I haven't made that decision yet."
The bill, titled the Covid-19 Origin Act of 2023, comes after it was revealed that the US Energy Department had concluded, but with a low amount of confidence, that the pandemic likely originated from a laboratory leak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, according to a classified report delivered to key lawmakers on the House and the Senate Intelligence committees, two sources previously confirmed to NBC News.
The FBI believes Covid originated from the Chinese lab leak, its Director Christopher Wray said.
Wray, in a recent interview with Fox News, said that the "FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan". He complained that the Chinese government had been doing "it's best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here, the work that we're doing, and the work that our US government and close foreign partners are doing, and that's unfortunate for everybody".
The bill was introduced last month by Republican Senators Josh Hawley and Mike Braun.
"For nearly three years, anyone asking whether Covid-19 originated as a lab leak outbreak was silenced and branded as a conspiracy theorist," Hawley said in a statement when filing the measure. "Now these prudent sceptics stand vindicated. The American people deserve to know the truth."
The Chinese government has stoutly denied the claims maintaining its "openness and transparency" on the issue. "Based on the poor track record of the US intelligence agencies in forgery and deception, the conclusions they draw have no credibility whatsoever," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said earlier this month.
President Biden has directed the intelligence community to look further into pandemics origins in 2021 so as to arrive at a "definitive conclusion" on its source after agencies were conflicted on whether the virus came from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.
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