Creative rendition of SARS-COV-2 virus particlesInternationalIndiaAfricaHouse lawmakers voted unanimously on Friday to require the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to declassify materials related to the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, which the White House asked the Intelligence Community to probe in 2021.The vote on the COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023 was remarkable in its unity, with 419 in favor and zero opposing. The US Senate passed it last month with a large majority as well, meaning the bill now advances to US President Joe Biden’s desk.“Transparency on the origins of COVID-19 is long overdue. Americans deserve to know the truth about what the government knew and when,” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) said in a statement on the bill.“The American public deserves answers to every aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, adding that it includes “how this virus was created and, specifically, whether it was a natural occurrence or was the result of a lab-related event.”The bill requires the DNI to make the information available within 90 days of it being signed into law.Biden assigned the Intelligence Community to investigate the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a May 2021 directive; the results published several months later showed no evidence the virus was man-made or had entered the human population through unnatural means, such as a leak from a biolab that possessed it for testing.Science & TechNew York City Teeming With Rats Infected With Different Covid-19 Strains, Study WarnsYesterday, 11:07 GMTThat document, which was redacted before publication, said the virus “probably emerged and infected humans through an initial small-scale exposure that occurred no later than November 2019 with the first known cluster of COVID-19 cases arising in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.””We judge the virus was not developed as a biological weapon,” the DNI said in the 2021 report. “Most agencies also assess with low confidence that SARS-CoV-2 probably was not genetically engineered; however, two agencies believe there was not sufficient evidence to make an assessment either way. Finally, the IC assesses China’s officials did not have foreknowledge of the virus before the initial outbreak of COVID-19 emerged.”After the virus spread from Wuhan to other cities and countries in early 2020, it quickly reached pandemic levels, and hundreds of thousands of deaths quickly followed. By April of that year, claims circulating in anti-China media – as well as by then-US President Donald Trump – attempted to point the finger at China, saying the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The DNI issued a statement at that time clarifying that all its intelligence said SARS-CoV-2 was “not manmade or genetically modified.”WorldUS Did Not Provide Access to Reports, Accusing China of Causing COVID-19: WHO3 March, 17:54 GMTHowever, after having seemingly been buried for good, the issue re-emerged a few weeks ago, with several intelligence officials, including FBI director Christopher Wray, who said that the bureau had “for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.” The Department of Energy also published a report that reached the same conclusion “with low confidence.”Beijing has strongly rejected the claims, stressing that the World Health Organization’s probe determined it “extremely unlikely” the Wuhan lab was the source of the outbreak. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning also urged against any form of political manipulation under the pretext of finding the source of COVID-19.The World Health Organization (WHO) also sent a mission to Wuhan in early 2021 to exchange information on the pandemic’s origins with Chinese scientists, and their assessment was that Chinese officials were not hiding anything unreasonable to hide, and they found it “extremely unlikely” the virus entering the human population had anything to do with the Wuhan biolab. The 12-nation team assessed the most likely source of the virus was a bat or pangolin that infected a human in the bush.