Is the lab leak conspiracy theory dead?

No one ever said, though, that peer review is anything magical. It does, however, mean that scientists carefully examined the submitted manuscript, its data, and its supplementary data and figures and decided that the data did support the hypothesis being tested and was therefore worthy of publication in the journal for which the manuscript was being considered. Again, note the conspiratorial thinking in all the criticisms:

* It’s a coverup by Anthony Fauci and the NIH (and big pharma and who knows who else).
* Anomaly hunting, in which minor issues with the papers are portrayed as fatal flaws.
* Arguments based on personal incredulity of the results.
* Cherry picking of opposing studies.
* Failure to consider the totality of the evidence and perseveration about bits of evidence that appear to support your view.

Science is a process, and definitive scientific conclusions rarely flow from a single study. The rejection of the lab leak hypothesis and conclusion that a zoonotic origin for SARS-CoV-2 is far more likely derive not from any single study—or even from these two studies—but from an accumulation of evidence obtained using different methodologies that all converge on the same conclusion. While lab leak proponents are correct that these studies don’t absolutely rule out a lab leak hypothesis, when they are taken together with existing evidence, they do deliver blows to lab leak so devastating that the hypothesis should be considered dead until and unless proponents can produce evidence sufficiently compelling to persuade scientists to resurrect it.