Covid-19: Here’s why the Wuhan ‘lab leak’ theory is back in the news

It has been months since a World Health Organization or WHO investigation into the coronavirus disease’s (Covid-19) origins concluded it was “extremely unlikely” that the highly transmissible virus “escaped” from China’s Wuhan laboratory. Although this whole story, dubbed by the media as the “lab leak” hypothesis, has its advocates in certain quarters, the reluctance of the wider scientific consensus to validate it following the World Health Organization’s report quickly resulted in it being branded a “conspiracy theory”.

Some new developments put forward by media houses in the United States; White House-led investigation efforts and statements by US President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci, have brought the whole story back into consideration.

The first hypothesis brings with it the idea that the SARS-CoV-2 or coronavirus, which causes Covid-19 infection in humans, most likely “spilled over” from animals to humans through an emissary animal. This was also the favored hypothesis of the team of Chinese and international experts constituted by the World Health Organization to investigate the pandemic’s origins. In its 120-page report, the team of Chinese and international experts said that the coronavirus probably originated in a bat or a pangolin before making the leap to human beings, due to close contact which is not unlikely in a wet market.

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