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Why the Wuhan lab-leak theory is being taken seriously (BBC)

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Wuhan Institute of Virology

Nearly a year and a half since Covid-19 was detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the question of how the virus first emerged remains a mystery.

But in recent weeks the controversial claim that the pandemic might have leaked from a Chinese laboratory – once dismissed by many as a fringe conspiracy theory – has been gaining traction.

So what do we know about the competing theories – and why does the debate matter?


The possibility that the coronavirus emerged from a lab was quickly dismissed by scientists in early 2020. This timeline shows which events and scientific publications had an impact on changing minds.

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