NY Magazine: The Lab Leak Hypothesis

COVID-19 is real.

It may have also been accidentally released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

New York Magazine:

What happened was fairly simple, I’ve come to believe. It was an accident. A virus spent some time in a laboratory, and eventually it got out. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, began its existence inside a bat, then it learned how to infect people in a claustrophobic mine shaft, and then it was made more infectious in one or more laboratories, perhaps as part of a scientist’s well-intentioned but risky effort to create a broad-spectrum vaccine. SARS-2 was not designed as a biological weapon. But it was, I think, designed. Many thoughtful people dismiss this notion, and they may be right. They sincerely believe that the coronavirus arose naturally, “zoonotically,” from animals, without having been previously studied, or hybridized, or sluiced through cell cultures, or otherwise worked on by trained professionals. They hold that a bat, carrying a coronavirus, infected some other creature, perhaps a pangolin, and that the pangolin may have already been sick with a different coronavirus disease, and out of the conjunction and commingling of those two diseases within the pangolin, a new disease, highly infectious to humans, evolved. Or they hypothesize that two coronaviruses recombined in a bat, and this new virus spread to other bats, and then the bats infected a person directly — in a rural setting, perhaps — and that this person caused a simmering undetected outbreak of respiratory disease, which over a period of months or years evolved to become virulent and highly transmissible but was not noticed until it appeared in Wuhan.

There is no direct evidence for these zoonotic possibilities, just as there is no direct evidence for an experimental mishap — no written confession, no incriminating notebook, no official accident report. Certainty craves detail, and detail requires an investigation. It has been a full year, 80 million people have been infected, and, surprisingly, no public investigation has taken place. We still know very little about the origins of this disease.

Nevertheless, I think it’s worth offering some historical context for our yearlong medical nightmare. We need to hear from the people who for years have contended that certain types of virus experimentation might lead to a disastrous pandemic like this one. And we need to stop hunting for new exotic diseases in the wild, shipping them back to laboratories, and hot-wiring their genomes to prove how dangerous to human life they might become.

Over the past few decades, scientists have developed ingenious methods of evolutionary acceleration and recombination, and they’ve learned how to trick viruses, coronaviruses in particular, those spiky hairballs of protein we now know so well, into moving quickly from one species of animal to another or from one type of cell culture to another. They’ve made machines that mix and mingle the viral code for bat diseases with the code for human diseases — diseases like SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome, for example, which arose in China in 2003, and MERS, Middle East respiratory syndrome, which broke out a decade later and has to do with bats and camels. Some of the experiments — “gain of function” experiments — aimed to create new, more virulent, or more infectious strains of diseases in an effort to predict and therefore defend against threats that might conceivably arise in nature. The term gain of function is itself a euphemism; the Obama White House more accurately described this work as “experiments that may be reasonably anticipated to confer attributes to influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses such that the virus would have enhanced pathogenicity and/or transmissibility in mammals via the respiratory route.” The virologists who carried out these experiments have accomplished amazing feats of genetic transmutation, no question, and there have been very few publicized accidents over the years. But there have been some.

And we were warned, repeatedly. …”

Eventually, the truth will come out.

The origin of COVID-19 is the greatest medical mystery of the 21st century. It either emerged naturally through some recombination of viruses or it was altered in a lab and somehow escaped.

About Hunter Wallace 12369 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. Or maybe COVID-19 was payback for the US trying to claw back industries that have been given to China.

  2. I can’t find the link now but there were several stories back in Feb./March 2020 that people working in the Wuhan Bio Level IV Lab were taking dead animals that had been used for experiments and selling them in the nearby wet market. The lab was apparently about 400 yards from the wet market and stolen animals had been sold there in the past, against laboratory rules, of course. This is a problem of petty corruption in China that can have deadly consequences.

    It is suspicious that the government in Peking is refusing to cooperate with an international investigation as to the origins of the virus. If there were nothing to see it would be in the interests of the Chinese government to cooperate with the investigation. OTOH there may be lots the Chinese government doesn’t want outside people to see.

    • “there were several stories back in Feb./March 2020 that people working in the Wuhan Bio Level IV Lab were taking dead animals that had been used for experiments and selling them in the nearby wet market”:

      Absurd. Exactly the same CIA propaganda story was circulated about “underpaid” lab workers in the Soviet Union, and Russia, selling stolen lab animals, dead and alive, to make extra income.

      Furthermore it had been over ten years since any bats were sold at farmers’ markets in Wuhan. Chinese people buy most of their fresh food in truly excellent, clean, outdoor markets. We should have such good sources for fresh food in the U.S.!

      • Godfrey Roberts, is that you? The China is Perfect shill from Unz Review? No wonder you express unadulterated love for Marxist gibberish. I should have known. Tell Xi hi for me.

          • Methinks thou doth protest too much.

            There has been a complete lack of cooperation with international investigations into the origin of the virus from the central government in Peking. If the virus didn’t originate in the Biolab Level IV facility it would behoove the Chinese Government to demonstrate this which would greatly enhance the reputation of the Chinese Government and help solve a scientific riddle. Instead the Chinese Government tries to obfuscate things and suppress domestic dissent which only strengthens suspicions.

            Also, the CCP lashed out in the Spring blaming the U.S. Government for the virus. Now there is an absurd charge no government believed and was not repeated by the Chinese Government. The charge reeked of desperation to deflect blame. If you are going to criticize the CIA and other nefarious actors point out their failed policies in Iran, blowback from supporting the Taliban (9/11) or current support for ISIS and other terrorists in Syria, not phantoms.

            Are you paid by the Chinese Government to push back on critics? Is the fundamental problem that there is an ounce, maybe less, just a grain of truth in the charges made? Can you cite evidence, not absolute proof, indicating that the virus originated elsewhere?

            My point is not to insult the nation of China, Chinese people or culture or the tremendous accomplishments of China over the last thirty years. It is to find out the truth and let the chips fall where they may. The truth is usually an unpleasant thing, however.

            Regarding the wet markets there was ample testimony and video including Chinese citizens defending “bat soup” and other current culinary practices back in March, 2020. I don’t know where in the U.S. you are referring to regarding the lack of fresh, healthy produce but in all parts of the U.S. where I have been there is no shortage of such food. The dietary problem in the U.S. is obesity caused by bad dietary choices, not the availability of good, quality food.

      • Have you ever seen the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant? You are not telling the truth. Chinese are filthy when it comes to their food.

  3. The U.S.’s many ongoing gain-of-function studies “for peaceful, purely scientific research and medical purposes” are fraught with tempting military applications. The work is being done mostly in overseas labs in recent decades, to evade rules and laws designed to “prevent” biological weapons development in the U.S.

    Biological warfare is just as insane as nuclear warfare, but the U.S. is now developing “usable” mini and adjustable-yield nukes for a new first-strike strategy, so it is reasonable to assume that it is also insane enough to consider biologicals, and chemical weapons. But SARS 2, and SARS 1, and MERS, are extremely poor, unlikely, inefficient and back-firing choices for biological warfare. Therefore I am almost 100% sure that they are naturally evolved.

    Re: “Eventually, the truth will come out”:

    If it did come from a U.S.-run (domestic or overseas) lab, I’m NOT at all confident that the truth would ever come out. If it is natural however, as I think it is, its evolutionary trail will probably be traced. So far, the most closely-related known coronavirus, which is found in bats that DO NOT live in China, is still too different to be the immediate ancestor of SARS CoV-2, or the first SARS.

    • I take any news about China that doesn’t have very strong evidence with a grain of salt at this point, because America is entering cold war 2 with China now. The disinformation war is already on, and fake news is coming from all directions.

  4. The origin is a non-story. Covid is a non-story.

    A conservative estimation from the National Institute of Health is that over 600,000 people will have died of cancer in 2020.


    Supposedly ~350,000 people have died of Covid, if (IF) you accept those figures at face value knowing full well they are inflated by a willing media with an agenda of social control, and a medical industry that has a financial incentive to attribute every illness (and thus associated deaths) to Covid because of greater insurance compensation.

    You would never have given a damn about Covid if it wasn’t a convenient excuse to pillory the Trump administration. You are just another contrarian, punching up to raise your profile, just like the goofs at TRS.

    This blog should be renamed Incidental Dissent, because thats a more apt description of the content over the last 3 years.

    I’ve yet to see any recognition of the far more serious damage that has been caused by this molehill made into a mountain as justification for the deliberate destruction of the economy and curtailment of civil liberties. Or an admission that the net social costs of the social policy that has come from this hysterical overreaction outweigh those of the actual disease.

    Opportunism and self promotion are all I see in your continued promotion of this farce.

    • “Contrarian” = not going along with the lunatics and cranks in the Dissident Right who believe that the entire planet is working together in the biggest, most complex conspiracy in history to make it look like people all over the world are dying from a virus. The overwhelming majority of the public agrees with our position.

    • I see no indication that he now BELIEVES IN the Faux News Chinese lab story.

      Re: Unz:. He has also published articles by Metallic Man’ and others claiming it was released by the U.S., deliberately to harm China.

  5. Covid is real, really overblown. Some people are dying from it, not nearly as much as they say and most are sick already or old. Coincidence that flu cases are down to record lows? I think not. Its not a lightswitch issue, Hunter. Its nuanced. All this ‘second wave’ business is bullshit, not ever expressed in previous pandemics.

    This is obviously part of a scheme to wrestle power by elite types in retaliation for the rise of populism. Calling people kooks is disingenuous coming from someone who references ‘the great replacement’. Get real Hunter

        • Crowded conditions in a culture of poor hygiene, and the appearance of a much more infectious strain that is becoming dominant. Logically, selection pressure is always for increased infectiousness, and sometimes for less fatality.

          • It virtually vanished in summer in Europe. Its spreading like wildfire among blacks.

      • Youve been hanging out with dickie spencer too much. More concerned with weaving a narrative than confronting the inconsistencies that reside within it. I still like your stuff though, but i smell the bullshit narrative bit a mile away.

    • Anon, the obvious reason why flu and common cold cases are down is they have been crushed by the public hygiene, not by a supposed conspiracy to hide cases. SARS being even more infectious than those diseases requires a much more strict and consistent level of hygiene to stop it.

      • Great, next explain away the high probability of pcr tests to give false positives and why the govt and localities continue to use them despite knowing this. Then explain how this has nothing to do with the obscene amounts of money the federal govt subsidizes hospitals with for each confirmed case of covid (a incentivized structure to report cases). Next, explain how you, as a reader of this website i will assume does not trust govt or elites but for some reason you believe all the hype dispensed about covid from elites and govt.

        How the hell do you people look at yourself in the mirror and say you are a serious person idk

  6. The libtards under that tweet are losing their pathetic little libtards minds screeching how this theory proves white racists right who believe multiple possible theories related to the virus pangolin, bat, manmade, lab release etc

    A bunch of libtards in the comments are calling for the article to be removed immediately! at once because its not state endorsed big brother media verified lol “Oh nO you are asking questions we can’t have that daddy zoghington post and CNN will tell me if its important and is bad unapproved information by Dr Fauci who is always right” stupid teacher pets and such whining babies ffs

    • If I wanted to design a biological weapon that tracelessly neutralized my rivals I’d design Covid19. A NASA chief once asked James Lovelock if he could find life on other planets and Lovelock said he couldnt imagine there’s life on other planets, the chief asked him, “okay what would you look for if there were life on othe planets?” Lovelock suggested you need to find a thermal reduction system… A planet that radiates heat essentially. So he made instruments to find that and as a side note realized that the life on the home planet is a system. Anyway, if I wanted to find evidence of biowarfare I’d look for what happened in 2020. It’s not deadly like the bubonic plague but it is just disruptive enough to panic rivals and just deadly enough to put the fear into the rulers of gerontocratic societies run by plutocrats. 2020 is the blueprint for a biological warfare strike. Maybe Spanish Flu was an experiment gone wrong as well.

  7. So retarded. Conservatives and Rightist can’t be taken seriously. The virus came from bats and Chinese people eating them. Now we got this “secret lab” shit.

    • Early speculation discussed bioweapon origins. It’s not Now, it’s more like an unexplored possibility.

      The average age of death from this is 80. So why the shut down of every shop, school and business? What would you expect in a biological warfare strike? Paralysis in your rival’s economic life. Biowarfare Wholesale. A designer of a bioweapon wouldn’t go far wrong imitating Covid19.

  8. “The virus came from bats and Chinese people eating them”:

    Bat eating is a new anti-Chinese trope. The closest-related (still quite distant) known coronavirus is found in bats that don’t even exist in China. Furthermore the farmers markets in Wuhan haven’t sold any bats for more than ten years.

  9. The fact that this thing popped up a mile away from their main virology lab where they work on coronaviruses would have to be quite the coincidence. Anyone familiar with Chinese business knows how careless and incompetent they are. It boggles the mind with the stupid thing they do, I work with a bunch and they screw up everything they are so incompetent. I have no doubt that typical Chinese carelessness is probably how this thing got out.

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