US intelligence officials say the federal government is looking into the possibility that the novel coronavirus, of which nearly 4,000 Alabamians have been confirmed to have, originated in a Chinese laboratory rather than a market. This is according to multiple sources familiar with the matter who also caution that it is premature to draw any conclusions.

The theory is one of several that are currently being pursued by investigators, as they attempt to determine the origin of the coronavirus that has resulted in a pandemic and killed over 130,000 people worldwide. The US does not believe the virus was associated with bioweapons research, and officials noted that the intelligence community is also exploring a range of other theories regarding the origination of the virus, which sources say is standard procedure in high-profile incidents.

“An intelligence official familiar with the government analysis said a theory US intelligence officials are investigating is that the virus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, and was accidentally released to the public. Other sources told CNN that US intelligence hasn’t been able to corroborate the theory but is trying to discern whether someone was infected in the lab through an accident or poor handling of materials and may have then infected others.”