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A Tortoise File

Genesis: the mystery of where Covid began

Between the science and politics, the truth may have disappeared

First published
Monday 12 July 2021

Last updated
Tuesday 13 July 2021

Why this story?

Donald Trump didn’t invent the idea that Covid might have escaped into the world from a laboratory in Wuhan, but he popularised it. And faced with an onslaught from the most unscientific American president, science responded predictably; a lot of prominent scientists rubbished the idea. The problem was, they didn’t have hard evidence to support their case because there wasn’t any (any more than there was for the much more mainstream theory that Covid came from an animal). The year-long tussle between the lab leak and animal transfer theories has damaged our chances of getting to the truth, and left a great global institution – the WHO – badly weakened. Ceri Thomas, Editor