Wendy Orent in Undark:
Many writers and researchers suggested that the presence of a high-containment laboratory in Wuhan, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, could point to a laboratory origin for the pandemic: a bioweapons experiment; or gain-of-function research, in which genetic manipulation adds some new feature to an existing germ; or simply the laboratory escape of a lethal bat virus. Since many lab escapes have happened in the past, some argue, a lab leak is a plausible explanation for this devastating explosion of disease. While a team convened by the World Health Organization declared in March that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely” and suggested wildlife farms that supplied the market could be the culprit, a new group of scientists is now set to revisit the issue.
Still, there remains, as of this writing, no physical evidence linking the pandemic’s origins with a laboratory escape. And furthermore, from a logical and evolutionary viewpoint, there is something fundamentally wrong with all lab-leak arguments.