Washington's intelligence agencies have reportedly secured a vast amount of genetic data from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology, which they have been analyzing.
Quoting multiple sources, CNN reported Thursday that it's unclear exactly how or when the U.S. was able to gain access to the information, which could be key to identifying the origins of COVID-19.
It explained that one possible way was through hacking, as such genetic data from viruses are usually connected to external cloud-based servers.
It stressed that translating this raw data into usable information is the challenging part.
There's also a manpower issue, requiring experts in the field who can speak Mandarin.
Officials say such information could be crucial to unlocking the mystery behind how the virus jumped from animals to humans, which could ultimately determine whether COVID-19 leaked from the lab or was transmitted to humans via animals in the wild.
In late May, President Biden ordered U.S. spy agencies to carry out a 90-day investigation on the origin of the virus.
And this deadline could possibly be extended if Washington cannot uncover what CNN described as a "smoking gun.
Earlier last month, CNN reported that senior Biden administration officials now believe that the so-called lab leak theory is at least as credible as the possibility that it emerged naturally in the wild, adding that this is a major shift from a year ago, when Democrats publicly downplayed that theory.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.