Senate Report Finds Biosafety ‘Failures’ Augment Chinese Lab Leak Theory
A researcher works in a lab at a pharmaceutical in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021.
(Feature China/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Biosafety issues plaguing Chinese research labs, as outlined in a new Senate report, may have resulted in one if not more containment “failures” that led up to the start of the COVID pandemic.

The report’s findings, released on Monday by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), add credence to the Wuhan lab leak theory vociferously rejected by Beijing but favored by some elements of the U.S. intelligence community and others.

“The preponderance of information supports the plausibility of an unintentional research-related incident that likely resulted from failures of biosafety containment during SARS-CoV-2 vaccine-related research,” the report says. “The identified underlying biosafety issues increased the likelihood that such containment failures were not immediately recognized.”

“The possibility of unrecognized biocontainment breaches combined with SARS-CoV-2’s clinical characteristics of asymptomatic and mild clinical illness in the majority of infections, likely confounded early recognition and containment of the initial outbreak,” the report adds. “Such initial unrecognized infections could serve as the nidus of the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan and is a plausible proximate cause of the pandemic.”

Millions of deaths worldwide have been attributed to COVID since the virus emerged in the latter half of 2019. Some U.S. agencies, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and a preliminary World Health Organization assessment from 2021 have placed more faith in the natural emergence theory over the idea that the pandemic began with a lab leak. However, there does appear to be a growing consensus moving the needle in the other direction.

New intelligence reportedly led the Energy Department to assess with “low confidence” that the pandemic likely began with a lab leak, a shift from its prior stance of being undecided. FBI Director Christopher Wray told Fox News in late February that the bureau “assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.”

The Senate report, titled “Muddy Waters,” is a more complete version of an interim document released in October from the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee that asserted COVID “most likely” leaked from a Wuhan lab. However, the final report does not announce a definitive conclusion about the origins of the pandemic. In fact, the authors also looked at wet markets and could not rule out the possibility that the virus jumped naturally from animals to humans, blaming China for “incomplete or contradictory” information that made it impossible to settle on a natural zoonotic source.


Robert Kadlec, a Trump administration health official who helped lead the Operation Warp Speed operation to quickly develop COVID vaccines, prepared the report with Dr. Bob Foster and GOP staff from the Senate HELP Committee.

Their 18-month investigation — based on an exhaustive look at published research, media reports, and more — outlined in detail a timeline of events in the second half of 2019, showing Chinese officials raising concerns about biosafety measures in research facilities, mysterious health conditions, and COVID vaccine research efforts that began no later than November or December of that year.

“This report is a crucial development in getting to the bottom of COVID-19’s true origins and exposing the deception of those that sought to conceal how this pandemic started,” Marshall said in a statement. “A preponderance of evidence in this report suggests there were two separate unintentional lab leaks dating back to fall of 2019 in Wuhan, China with significant evidence supporting that COVID-19 was a lab-created and altered virus.”

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