Skip to content
Politics & Policy

Coronavirus Lab Leak Theory Needs to Be Taken Seriously

Just because the conspiracy crowd is uninformed doesn’t mean serious scientists should give the Wuhan Institute of Virology a pass.

Corrected
The Wuhan Institute of Virology’s secrecy only fuels conspiracy theories. 

The Wuhan Institute of Virology’s secrecy only fuels conspiracy theories. 

Photographer: Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

With so many conspiracy theorists embracing the view that the coronavirus escaped from a laboratory, it’s tempting to dismiss the idea out of hand. But it's important to keep an open mind — because the possibility of a lab leak still exists, and needs to be investigated.

Serious people are demanding a closer look at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. There isn’t much evidence that a lab leak was the origin of the pandemic, but neither is there much evidence for any other scenario. Though scientists recently found somewhat related viruses harbored by bats in Laos, this doesn’t answer the key question of how the SARS-CoV-2 got into humans.