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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill to force the Biden administration to declassify all documents related to the origins of COVID-19.

The move comes after news broke that the U.S. Department of Energy concluded in a “classified intelligence report,” albeit with “low confidence,” that the COVID-19 outbreak “most likely” originated from a Chinese lab leak, a concept previously denounced as a conspiracy theory. The FBI also reportedly believes that the coronavirus likely escaped from a Chinese laboratory.

S. 619, introduced by Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and also known as the “COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023<, contends that “there is reason to believe the COVID-19 pandemic may have originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology” in China.

Lawmakers also say they believe that “identifying the origin of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is critical for preventing a similar pandemic from occurring in the future.”

Therefore, they argue that “the Director of National Intelligence should declassify and make available to the public as much information as possible about the origin of COVID-19” to enable the U.S. and other “like-minded countries” to “identify the origin of COVID-19 as expeditiously as possible” as well as “use that information to take all appropriate measures to prevent a similar pandemic from occurring again.”

Bloomberg Law reported that the bill passed Wednesday “without objection or a roll-call vote,” signaling the legislative proposal “could put pressure on the Biden administration to voluntarily declassify.”

RELATED: US Department of Energy now concludes COVID-19 escaped from Chinese lab: report

The move by Congress comes as public opinion appears to be shifting on a range of COVID-related issues previously condemned as dangerous “misinformation,” including criticism of mask mandates, the COVID-19 jabs, and proposal of the lab leak theory.

Late last month, The New York Times ran an op-ed spotlighting the abject uselessness of COVID-19 masks, including N-95s, even if combined “with other preventive measures, such as hand hygiene, physical distancing or air filtration.”

Last weekend, leftist comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live (SNL) aired a skit by actor Woody Harrelson in which he floated a fictitious movie script that would depict powerful drug cartels pressuring governments to lock people in their homes and only allow them outside if they repeatedly take their drugs.

The mainstream criticism of the unprecedented COVID measures has been a long time coming.

Highly credentialed scientists, though often censored for dissenting from the approved narrative, have long pointed out that masking was promoted and mandated without basis in real scientific evidence.

Moreover, despite censorship and media attempts to connect the virus outbreak to a nearby wet market, many have seen the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), known to conduct research on bat coronaviruses, as the likeliest point of origin for the virus.

In addition, evidence continues to suggest that the U.S. government, and former National Institutes of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and COVID White House czar Dr. Anthony Anthony Fauci in particular, had been involved in funding controversial “gain of function” research (which involves intentionally making viruses stronger for research purposes) at the WIV.

In May 2021 Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee released a report finding “significant circumstantial evidence” that COVID originated in a lab leak from the WIV, pointing out that Fauci had approved funding for U.S.-based nonprofit EcoHealth to explore gain-of-function research at sites including the WIV, LifeSiteNews previously reported.

Leaked emails sent by scientists to Dr. Fauci and others in the early days of the outbreak also suggested that they believed the virus had been manipulated in a lab, but that they held off on making their beliefs public in an effort to protect “science and international harmony.”

For his part, Fauci has repeatedly argued that the research conducted at the WIV and funded by the government wasn’t gain of function, even in the face of persistent grilling by Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

READ: Rand Paul: Fauci is covering up COVID origins to evade culpability for funding risky research in China

Sen. Paul has argued that Fauci and then-National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins had concurred that the spread of the lab-leak theory would be “damaging to ‘science,’” leading them to launch “a cover up.”

“I think it’s the biggest cover up, probably, in the history of science,” Sen. Paul said. “And we will get to the bottom of this.”

In 2021, Paul submitted a criminal referral with the Department of Justice arguing that Fauci lied to Congress when he claimed that the NIH was not funding and had never funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan.

Revelations by conservative investigative journalism outfit Project Veritas last year cast further doubt on Fauci’s denials.

In January 2022, Project Veritas released documents indicating that EcoHealth Alliance previously attempted to get Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funding for its virus research but was denied on the grounds that it would run afoul of an existing prohibition against gain of function research, LifeSiteNews previously reported.