The President of the United States, Joe Biden, has signed this Monday the Law of the Origin of COVID-19, which allows the declassification of information related to the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The law had already been approved by Congress, but until now the White House had expressed doubts about the possibility of it being ratified by the president.
“We need to get to the bottom of the origin of COVID-19 to ensure that we can prevent future pandemics,” Biden explained in a statement. “My Administration will continue to review all classified information regarding the origins of COVID-19, including the possible relationship with the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” he added.
This new regulation will allow “declassifying and sharing all the information that is possible” taking into account the presidential prerogative of “avoiding the disclosure of information that may affect national security.” Biden has also recorded that already in 2021 negatively intelligence agencies investigate the origin of the virus.
This law is the result of a proposal by Republican Senator Josh Hawley and plans to order the director of National Intelligence “to declassify all information regarding possible links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin” of the virus.
This includes “activities carried out by the Wuhan Institute of Virology in collaboration with or for the Chinese Army” and “coronavirus research or other related activities carried out at the Wuhan Institute of Virology before the start of COVID-19 infections.” .
The bill was approved shortly after an Energy Department report was released pointing to a laboratory leak as the most likely cause of the pandemic, although the White House immediately qualified that there was no clear consensus on the matter.
The Republican Party has repeatedly pointed to the leak from a Chinese laboratory as the origin of the pandemic, but the US authorities have usually been cautious and have also considered the hypothesis of animal-human transmission.