According to Australian media reports a top Chinese spy has supposedly defected to the United States and has offered intelligence on the beginnings of the Covid pandemic.

Report from Chinese media and sites as well as reports in Twitter say, Dong Jingwei, China’s Vice Minister of State Security, is believed to have secretly flown from Hong Kong to the United States with his daughter Dong Yang on February 10.

It is anybody’s guess what Dong may have passed on China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is at the centre of the covid-19 lab leak theory which was earlier dismissed as a “conspiracy” by many for the last year-and-a-half but is now gaining worldwide traction.

If the rumours are true, Dong would be the highest-level official to have defected to date from the People’s Republic of China.

What lends credence to such media reports is the U-turn in US policy vis-à-vis COVID-19’s investigation. Earlier in May, US President Joe Biden announced a new review of the source of COVID-19 while earlier he had shut down a similar probe.

Biden has called on the US intelligence community to “redouble” its investigative efforts on whether the virus could have jumped from an animal host to humans, or if it was accidentally released from China’s level 4 biosafety facility in Wuhan.

Dong served as the head of counterintelligence in China’s Ministry of State Security, which is also known as Guoanbu. His debriefing is reportedly includes early pathogenic studies of the virus, models of predicted covid spread and damage to the world, and financial records detailing which organizations and governments funded the research.

He also is likely to know the names of Chinese spies working in the United States as well as the techniques the Chinese government used to gain access to a CIA communications system.

In a tweet, former Chinese foreign ministry official Dr Han Lianchao, who defected after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, said, if the rumors are true Dong’s defection “is really a big bomb”.

The development comes at a time when the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, refused to rule out the Wuhan lab leak theory at the G7 summit, and called on China to be more “transparent”.

Dr Tedros went on to say, so far 3.75 million people across the glove have died because of the virus, with at least 174 million contracting the disease.

“I think the respect these people deserve is knowing what the origin of this virus is so that we can prevent it from happening again,” said Tedros. He also suggested there had not been enough “transparency and co-operation” from China at the outset of the outbreak saying, “This must never happen again”.