Whuhan lab


The State Department has released an internal cable from 2018 detailing the concerns of U.S. Embassy officials in China about a lack of adequately trained personnel at a virology lab in Wuhan, the city that later became the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Leaked contents of the cable sparked unproven speculation from senior U.S. officials beginning in April that the outbreak occurred as a result of an accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

In May, President Donald Trump said he had seen evidence that gave him a "high degree of confidence" that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab. When asked why he was confident, Trump said, "I can't tell you that. I'm not allowed to tell you that."

The entirety of the cable had not been released through official channels until this week, after The Washington Post filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for the records. The Post sued in April after the State Department failed to produce the records in the time period required by the law.

The full cable does not strengthen the claim that an accident at the lab caused the virus to escape, nor does it exclude the possibility. However, in recent months, skepticism of the accident theory has increased in the scientific community because the genetic sequences of isolates from the bat coronaviruses known to be under research at the lab do not match those of covid-19.