Did coronavirus accidentally escape from a Wuhan lab? It’s doubtful. | The Fact Checker

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In the absence of crucial information on how the novel coronavirus began many theories have gained traction — one is that the virus accidentally escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China. But does any evidence support that origin story?

There are a number of reasons why this theory has gained traction over the past few weeks, primarily because U.S. intelligence and lawmakers have said they want to investigate it. At least two labs in Wuhan research bat coronaviruses: the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They have become a focal point of suspicion, in part because of their proximity to the Huanan seafood market, where a cluster of the first cases of the new coronavirus appeared.

Speculation has also been heightened because of the actions of Chinese officials. Before the Chinese government had even alerted the WHO to the growing epidemic, scientists were told to destroy early samples of the virus, according to the Straits Times, making it difficult to find the virus’s origins. The Fact Checker spoke to several scientists and researchers about what, if any, evidence there is that a lab accident led to the release of the virus that causes covid-19. Read more: SPECIAL OFFER: To thank you for your support, here’s a deal on a Washington Post digital subscription: $29 for one year

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