ytene writes: CNN is claiming an exclusive scoop, with an article reporting that U.S. intelligence agencies have scored a massive trove of Covid-19 genetic data, which, CNN suggests, comes from the Wuhan research lab. More than the complex challenge of absorbing and understanding the “mountain” of raw data, U.S. researchers are going to have to translate the material from native Mandarin before the real work can begin. Whilst there has obviously been a lot of interest in a clear identification of the source, it isn’t clear how such a revelation could have a material impact on the efficacy of vaccines or the take-up of the treatment. It might, however, give useful clues to help understand where or how the next deadly outbreak could develop. “It’s unclear exactly how or when U.S. intelligence agencies gained access to the information, but the machines involved in creating and processing this kind of genetic data from viruses are typically connected to external cloud-based servers — leaving open the possibility they were hacked,” notes CNN, citing multiple people familiar with the matter. The report also notes that senior intelligence officials are “genuinely split between the two prevailing theories on the pandemic’s origins.” The World Health Organization says wildlife farms in southern China are the most likely source of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the theory that the virus accidentally escaped from a lab in Wuhan is still being investigated. According to a CNN report last month, “[S]enior Biden administration officials overseeing the 90-day review now believe the theory that the virus accidentally escaped from a lab in Wuhan is at least as credible as the possibility that it emerged naturally in the wild — a dramatic shift from a year ago, when Democrats publicly downplayed the so-called lab leak theory.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.