House Unanimously Approves Bill To Declassify Intelligence On Wuhan Lab


The House of Representatives voted unanimously Friday morning on a bill to declassify intelligence information on the origin of Covid-19, following two reports suggesting the deadly virus originated in a Chinese lab, even though scientists have expressed skepticism about that theory.

Key Facts

The House voted 419-0 on the bill—a remarkable show of unity from a governing body that rarely agrees on any legislation—after the Senate passed its version of the bill unanimously last week, meaning the legislation next heads to the desk of President Joe Biden.

If signed into law by President Joe Biden, Director of National Intelligence Avril Danica Haines would have 90 days to send a report on the unclassified information to Congress—Biden has not indicated his support or opposition to the bill, but had previously ordered more information from the intelligence community on the origin of the virus just months into his presidency.

The bill calls on officials to release information on research that had been performed before the outbreak of the deadly virus in late 2019 at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where some lawmakers and two recent reports suggest the virus originated.

In a report last week, the Department of Energy concluded the most likely source of the virus was a lab leak at the Wuhan Center of Virology, although the department admitted it made its conclusion with “low confidence,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

Two days later, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Fox News the FBI has believed the virus came from a lab in Wuhan “for quite some time” (Beijing has repeatedly denied the assertion that the virus was caused by a lab leak).


Scientists have also expressed doubt about the lab leak theory, which had long been regarded as a discredited belief after several lawmakers, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former President Donald Trump floated the idea in the early months of the pandemic. Researchers in a March 2020 paper published in Nature Medicine dismissed the theory, saying they “do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible.” Other studies have linked the origin of the coronavirus to a wet market in Wuhan, where scientists believe the virus spilled over from live animals sold at the market to people. A July 2022 study in Science found that market was the “epicenter” of the virus, with nearly two thirds of the first 41 hospitalized patients in Wuhan having direct contact with the market.


Last week, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press conference that “all hypotheses” regarding the virus’ origin remain on the table, and that the international organization is still trying to determine where and how it spread to humans, but that it is waiting for more information from Chinese officials to make a final determination. His comments reiterated several other reports that have indicated it might be too early to tell where the virus came from. A group of scientists in May 2021 had published a letter in the journal Science, arguing the theory had not been fully investigated and that “we must take hypotheses about both natural and laboratory spillovers seriously until we have sufficient data.” An October 2021 National Intelligence Council report also stated the lab theory and the wet market theory are “plausible.”

Further Readint

Covid Likely Originated From Lab Leak, Energy Department Reportedly Finds—But Biden Aide Says There’s No ‘Definitive Answer’ (Forbes)

Covid Lab Leak Theory: Some Government Agencies Believe It—Here’s Why Most Scientists Don’t (Forbes)

Timeline: How The Covid Lab Leak Origin Story Went From ‘Conspiracy Theory’ To Government Debate (Forbes)

All Covid Origin Theories—Including Lab Leak—‘On The Table,’ WHO Director Says (Forbes)