The theory that the coronavirus escaped from a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has seized a commanding position in the evolving debate about the source of the pandemic and accountability for the failure to contain it. The fact is that the lab leak explanation is no more likely than it was a year ago, notwithstanding the recent revelation of circumstantial evidence to support it. But the political and diplomatic reasons to advocate and/or believe the lab leak theory are riding roughshod over scientific logic and evidence.
When the coronavirus first emerged in the United States in early 2020, so did speculation that the virus—rather than developing and spreading wholly naturally—accidentally leaked from the WIV. This theory was downplayed or marginalized by many observers because most scientific experts deemed it more likely that the virus emerged naturally, and because the lab leak theory was linked to US politicians