Initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory, the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may have come from a laboratory accident has been gaining traction in recent weeks. While the World Health Organization has said the virus probably crossed into humans from animals, no definitive proof of any theory has yet been found. That’s why we need a proper investigation into the origin of the pandemic that definitively establishes where the virus came from, write Virginie Courtier and Etienne Decroly.

We’ve known for a while that industrial chemicals can affect men’s sperm counts, but a new study of 60 pregnant women indicates that they could be leading to a decline in women’s fertility too. Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet found that women with higher levels of chemicals in their blood had fewer eggs left in their ovaries.

And if you’ve ever wondered if you could fool a bird with magic tricks, here’s your answer.

Megan Clement

English language editor, The Conversation France

Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan. Johannes Eisele/AFP

COVID-19: why the lab leak theory must be formally investigated

Virginie Courtier, Université de Paris; Etienne Decroly, Aix-Marseille Université (AMU)

The lab accident theory of the origins of Covid-19 has gained traction in recent months. We need a proper investigation to find out what really happened.

This is the first study to investigate how chemical exposure impacts the number of eggs a woman has. Peakstock/ Shutterstock

Toxic chemicals linked to lower egg counts in women

Jasmin Hassan, Karolinska Institutet; Pauliina Damdimopoulou, Karolinska Institutet; Richelle Duque Björvang, Karolinska Institutet

The higher the chemical levels found in a woman's blood, the fewer eggs they had left in their ovaries.

Shutterstock/Piotr Krzeslak

We performed magic tricks on birds to see how they perceive the world

Elias Garcia-Pelegrin, University of Cambridge

Testing whether the birds react to sleight of hand helps us understand if they see the world like we do.

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