Get access to our best features
Get access to our best features

The Lab Leak Theory

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, questions about the origins of the virus have remained prevalent. The theory that the virus may have originated from a laboratory leak in China began to emerge in the early days of the pandemic, though the theory was originally met with skepticism and dubbed a “conspiracy theory” by some prominent media outlets and scientists. On February 26, 2023, more than three years after the first reported cases of COVID-19 in China, the U.S. Department of Energy concluded that a lab leak was the most likely origin of the virus. Check out our interactive coverage timeline to see how the COVID-19 lab leak theory developed and was covered by news outlets across the political spectrum.

Click on the stories below to dive deeper and compare how outlets with differing political biases covered each story.