Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been many conspiracy theories regarding its origin and how it spread across the world. One of these, the lab leak theory, is gaining traction as a classified report suggesting the plausibility of the scenario is now a focus of lawmakers.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers issued the classified report in May 2020 which found that COVID-19 could have come from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. Four people familiar with the document revealed the contents as they were previously banned from saying anything amid the panic the pandemic has already caused.
Officials have not revealed the connection of the document's contents and how it affected their understanding of the origin of the coronavirus strain responsible for the pandemic. It was also not specified if the paper supported either side of the debate on whether or not the COVID-19 virus was a result of human experimentations.
Many experts familiar with the document downplayed the significance it brought. Researchers also said in the report that it was possible the virus could have developed naturally in the wild, supporting what many experts across the world accept and believe.
In recent months, social media platforms are filling up with viral posts about COVID-19 coming from a laboratory in Wuhan as the idea gains more traction. Officials at Capitol Hill are now considering tackling the issue much more seriously than before.
Many key lawmakers in Capitol Hill had access to the document since last year, giving them enough time to review the paper's contents. Some Republicans were frustrated they were not given the same level of accessibility to the document, CNN reported.
Recently, GOP members of the Energy and Commerce Committee are urging the Energy Department for more information regarding the "top secret" document. Republican Morgan Griffith said many members of various oversight committees should have been given access to the document, given how crucial it is to learn how to control the pandemic.
Since the document was issued last year, its importance now is not so much what it tells experts, but rather, that it supported the plausibility of the COVID-19 originating from a Wuhan lab. At the time, it was widely considered taboo to believe or talk about the infection coming from a man-made laboratory instead of the wild.
The panel has already reviewed the contents of the document as part of the ongoing investigations, a House Intelligence Committee official said. However, it was not known if lawmakers with the Energy and Commerce Committee had knowledge of the existence of the report.
Many sources cautioned the report did not give conclusive evidence supporting either side of the argument on whether or not the COVID-19 virus was made inside a laboratory. In summary, the paper follows the findings of the intelligence community that believes in the "zoonotic" theory, 9News reported.
However, in addition, the document provides circumstantial evidence regarding the lab leak theory. This has shown that the possibility of humans being responsible for the worldwide pandemic is more plausible than many experts wanted to believe.