When Covid-19 first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, much of the focus of the initial investigation fell on a seafood market that was also selling exotic animals for human consumption. But in the months since, no definitive link has been proven and the precise origin story remains unsolved.
In the intervening period, numerous conspiracy theories have spread: that somehow 5G phone signals could be involved, or that the virus is a hoax. Bracketing with these was the theory that Covid-19 may have been released (accidentally or otherwise) from a laboratory.
Scientists initially dismissed the theory of laboratory leaks, but in recent months suspicions have fallen on the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which studies coronaviruses. As the guardian Peter beaumont He says Anushka Asthana, these suspicions are still being treated with skepticism by scientists. But now, in the absence of any other confirmed origin, Joe Biden has asked US intelligence agencies to consider the theory of lab leaks as a possibility and investigate. So how seriously should we take it?