A far less conspiratorial version of the conjecture also exists, which argues that the virus was discovered by researchers in the wild and inadvertently unleashed through accident or ineptitude. While this theory is less paranoid, it is plagued by the same deficits. To have “escaped”, the virus would have had to exist in nature to be sampled. No matter how massive the Wuhan Institute’s repository of bat viruses may be, the staggering number of viruses in nature would exceed any library by orders of magnitude.
Nor is the current uncertainty over the animal genesis of Covid particularly suspicious; while Ebola was first recorded in 1976, we do not know how it emerged. Tracing the origin of a pathogen is laborious – it took 14 years for conclusive evidence that Sars arose from a virus transmitted from bats to civets to humans. None of this adds support to lab-leak narratives.