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The lab-leak theory isn’t deadThe mother of all Covid conspiracy theories is true

But the studies don’t provide any evidence that the virus didn’t escape from the Wuhan lab — they simply argue that it’s not a plausible scenario, also based on the fact that there’s no evidence that the virus was present at the WIV before the pandemic started. But of course absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. As Sachs notes, “this [claim] is only as good as the limited data on which it is based, and verification of this claim is dependent on gaining access to any other unpublished viral sequences that are deposited in relevant US and Chinese databases”.

Ultimately, the virus may indeed be conclusively proven to be natural in origin. But in order to do that, as Sachs stresses, a real independent scientific investigation is needed. The public deserves to be shown incontrovertible proof that the Wuhan lab has nothing to do with all this — but that means that the US and Chinese governments have to open up their lab records instead of going out of their way to prevent a real investigation. Amid a time of heightened geopolitical tensions and crumbling faith in political leadership across the West, transparency is needed more than ever. If we can’t get this one right, how else can we be expected to place our faith in authorities ever again?

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