Key articles on origins of Covid-19, gain-of-function research and biolabs

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Here is a reading list about what is known and not known about the origins of SARS-CoV-2, accidents and leaks at biosafety and biowarfare laboratories, and the health risks of gain-of-function (GOF) research, which aims to increase the host range, transmissibility, infectivity or pathogenicity of potential pandemic pathogens. For more information about the U.S. Right to Know investigation into these topics, see our biohazards page. Please sign up for our newsletter for updates.

This reading list is a work in progress. We will update it. Please send readings we may have missed to Gary Ruskin at gary@usrtk.org.

Topics (drop links)

Most recent articles

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A call for an independent inquiry into the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. By Neil L. Harrison and Jeffrey D. Sachs. May 19, 2022.

Vox. Can we stop the next pandemic by seeking out deadly viruses in the wild? By Kelsey Piper. May 7, 2022.

Washington Post. As the pandemic exploded, a researcher saw the danger. China’s leaders kept silent. April 22, 2022.

Vanity Fair. “This Shouldn’t Happen”: Inside the Virus-Hunting Nonprofit at the Center of the Lab-Leak Controversy. By Kathleen Eban. March 31, 2022.

City Journal. Journalists, or PR Agents? Why science reporters don’t report fairly on the origins of Covid-19. By Nicholas Wade, March 20, 2022.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The origins of SARS-CoV-2: still to be determined. By Laura H. Kahn. March 10, 2022.

Science Insider. Spurred by pandemic, U.S. government will revisit federal policies on risky virus research. By Jocelyn Kaiser. March 1, 2022.

Nature
. Wuhan market was epicentre of pandemic’s start, studies suggest. By Amy Maxmen. February 27, 2022.

MIT Technology Review. Meet the scientist at the center of the covid lab leak controversy. By Jane Qiu. February 9, 2022.

City Journal.
A Covid Origin Conspiracy? By Nicholas Wade, January 23, 2022.

The Intercept.
The virus hunters: how pursuit of unknown viruses risks triggering the next pandemic. By Sharon Lerner. December 28, 2021.

London Review of Books. Lab Leaks. By Alex de Waal. December 2, 2021.

U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce, minority letter to the National Academy of Medicine regarding EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak. November 30, 2021.

New York Times. You Should Be Afraid of the Next ‘Lab Leak.’ By Jon Gertner. November 23, 2021.

What are the origins of SARS-CoV-2?

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan? Nicholas Wade. May 5, 2021.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. To stop the next pandemic, we need to unravel the origins of COVID-19. David A. Relman. November 3, 2020.

New York Times. Where Did the Coronavirus Come From? What We Already Know Is Troubling. Zeynep Tufekci. June 25, 2021.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. How COVID-19’s origins were obscured, by the East and the West. By Nicholas Wade. August 17, 2021.

Vanity Fair. The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins. Katherine Eban. June 3, 2021.

The Intercept. Leaked Grant Proposal Details High-Risk Coronavirus Research. By Sharon Lerner and Maia Hibbett. September 23, 2021.

The Intercept. New Details Emerge About Coronavirus Research at Chinese Lab. By Sharon Lerner and Mara Hvistendahl. September 6, 2021.

The Intercept. NIH Documents Provide New Evidence U.S. Funded Gain-of-Function Research in Wuhan.  By Sharon Lerner, Mara Hvistendahl and Maia Hibbett. September 9, 2021.

The Intercept. EcoHealth Alliance conducted risky Experiments on MERS virus in China. By Sharon Lerner and Maia Hibbett. October 21, 2021.

The Intercept. NIH officials worked with EcoHealth Alliance to evade restrictions on coronavirus experiments. By Sharon Lerner and Mara Hvistendahl. November 3, 2021.

Medium. New Routes to Making Covid-19 in the Lab. By Nicholas Wade. September 23, 2021.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Did the SARS-CoV-2 virus arise from a bat coronavirus research program in a Chinese laboratory? Very possibly. Milton Leitenberg. June 4, 2020.

USA Today. Could an accident have caused COVID-19? Why the Wuhan lab-leak theory shouldn’t be dismissed. Alison Young. March 22, 2021.

Science. Investigate the Origins of COVID-19. Jesse Bloom et al. May 14, 2021. DOI: 10.1126/science.abj0016

BMJThe covid-19 lab leak hypothesis: did the media fall victim to a misinformation campaign? Paul Thacker.  July 8, 2021.

BMJCovid 19: We need a full open independent investigation into its origins.  Fiona Godlee.  July 8, 2021.

Stanford Magazine. Germ Theories: Lab leak? Animal transmission? Why David Relman and his colleagues told the world that we need to investigate both of COVID-19’s origin stories. By Deni Ellis Béchard. September 13, 2021.

Politico. In 2018, Diplomats Warned of Risky Coronavirus Experiments in a Wuhan Lab. No One Listened. Josh Rogin. March 8, 2021.

Washington Post. State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses. Josh Rogin. April 14, 2020.

Wall Street Journal. Intelligence on Sick Staff at Wuhan Lab Fuels Debate On Covid-19 Origin. Michael Gordon, Warren Strobel and Drew Hinshaw. May 23, 2021.

MIT Technology Review. Inside the risky bat-virus engineering that links America to Wuhan. Rowan Jacobsen. June 29, 2021.

New York Magazine. The lab-leak hypothesis. Nicholson Baker. January 4, 2021.

Medium. How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Lab-Leak Theory. Donald G. McNeil Jr. May 17, 2021.

New York Times. A Group of Scientists Presses a Case Against the Lab Leak Theory of Covid. Carl Zimmer and James Gorman.  July 9, 2021.

Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Declassified Assessment on COVID-19 Origins. October 29, 2021.

Wall Street Journal. Science Closes In on Covid’s Origins.  By Richard Muller and Steven Quay. October 5, 2021.

Science. Close cousins of SARS-CoV-2 found in a cave in Laos yield new clues about pandemic’s origins. By Jon Cohen. September 29, 2021.

The Telegraph. Did the Covid-19 virus really escape from a Wuhan lab? Matt Ridley and Alina Chan. February 6, 2021.

Wall Street Journal. The World Needs a Real Investigation into the Origins of Covid-19. Alina Chan and Matt Ridley. January 15, 2021.

Washington Post. Opinion: The Biden administration confirms some but not all of Trump’s Wuhan lab claims. Josh Rogin. March 9, 2021.

Wall Street Journal. The Wuhan Lab Leak Question: A Disused Chinese Mine Takes Center Stage. Jeremy Page, Betsy McKay and Drew Hinshaw. May 24, 2021.

Washington Post. A scientist adventurer and China’s ‘Bat Woman’ are under scrutiny as coronavirus lab-leak theory gets another look. Eva Duo and Lily Kuo. June 3, 2021.

Newsweek. Beijing Must Come Clean About COVID-19 Origins | Opinion. Jamie Metzl. January 22, 2021

Letter from U.S. Senators Johnson, Paul, Lankford, Scott and Cotton to NIH Director Francis Collins seeking information about the NIH’s actions on gain of function research. May 20, 2021.

Wall Street Journal. Fauci Email Bolsters the Lab-Leak Theory. Nicholas Wade. June 4, 2021.

Wall Street Journal. The Science Suggests a Wuhan Lab Leak. Steven Quay and Richard Muller. June 6, 2021.

Poynter. What we can learn from the media’s dismissal of the Wuhan lab theory. Alan Miller. June 17, 2021.

Current Affairs. The stakes of finding COVID-19’s origins. Nathan J. Robinson. May 19, 2021.

Washington Post. Timeline: How the Wuhan lab-leak theory suddenly became credible. Glenn Kessler. May 25, 2021.

Wall Street Journal. Chinese Covid-19 Gene Data That Could Have Aided Pandemic Research Removed From NIH Database. Amy Markus, Betsy McKay and Drew Hinshaw. June 23, 2021.

New York Times. Newly Discovered Bat Viruses Give Hints to Covid’s Origins. By Carl Zimmer. October 14, 2021.

The Lancet. An appeal for an objective, open, and transparent scientific debate about the origin of SARS-CoV-2. By Jacques van Helden et al. September 17, 2021.

U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce, minority letters to: (1) Secretary of State Antony Blinken seeking the release of unclassified documents related to the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, May 6, 2021. (2) EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak seeking information and documents related to the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, April 16, 2021. (3) NIH Director Francis Collins seeking to advance an independent, scientific investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, March 18, 2021.

Open Letters: (1) Call for a Comprehensive Investigation of the Origin of SARS-CoV-2. June 28, 2021. (2) To the World Health Organization and the Members of its Executive Board. April 30, 2021. (3) Call for full investigation into the origins of Covid-19. April 7, 2021. (4) Call for a Full and Unrestricted International Forensic Investigation into the Origins of COVID-19. March 4, 2021.

Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Declassified summary report on the origins of Covid-19. August 27, 2021.

Wall Street Journal. Who Are the Covid Investigators? Members of a WHO origin probe have conflicts of interest. The Editorial Board. February 15, 2021.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.WHO: COVID-19 didn’t leak from a lab. Also WHO: Maybe it did. Filipa Lentzos. February 11, 2021.

Science. Call of the Wild: Why many scientists say it’s unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 originated from a “lab leak.” By Jon Cohen.  September 2, 2021.

Science. Prophet in Purgatory: EcoHealth Alliance’s Peter Daszak is fighting accusations that his pandemic prevention work helped spark COVID-19. By Jon Cohen, November 17, 2021.

Lancet. Science, not speculation, is essential to determine how SARS-CoV-2 reached humans. Charles Calisher et al. July 5, 2021.

Washington Post. Opinion: The world still hasn’t figured out how to regulate research into deadly viruses. Brian Klaas. March 11, 2021.

Medium. Response of Dr. Kristian G. Andersen to questions relating to his email to Dr. Fauci recently released under FOIA. Yuri Deigin. June 3, 2021.

New York Times. Scientist Opens Up About His Early Email to Fauci on Virus Origins. James Gorman and Carl Zimmer. June 14, 2021.

New York Times. China’s ‘Bat Woman,’ at the Center of a Pandemic Storm, Speaks Out. Amy Qin and Chris Buckley. June 14, 2021.

Undark. Lab Leak: A Scientific Debate Mired in Politics– and Unresolved. Charles Schmidt. March 17, 2021.

CBS. What happened in Wuhan? Why questions still linger on the origin of the coronavirus. Lesley Stahl. March 28, 2021.

BBC. Covid: Wuhan scientist would ‘welcome’ visit probing lab leak theory. John Sudworth. December 22, 2020.

Houston Chronicle. UTMB scientist acknowledges safety risks at Chinese lab doing coronavirus research. Nick Powell. April 23, 2020. 

Wall Street Journal. NIH presses U.S. nonprofit for information on Wuhan virology lab. Betsy McKay. August 19, 2020.  

French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). The origin of SARS-CoV-2 is being seriously questioned. Yaroslav Pigenet. November 9, 2020.

Science. Dissecting the early COVID-19 cases in Wuhan. By Michael Worobey. November 18, 2021.

Nature Medicine. On the origins of SARS-CoV-2. Angela Rasmussen. January 13, 2021.

U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs, minority staff.  The Origins of COVID-19: An Investigation of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. August 2, 2021.

CNET. The twisted, messy hunt for COVID-19’s origin and the lab leak theory. Jackson Ryan. January 19, 2021.

Newsweek. Humans, Not Animals, Likely Took the COVID Virus to Wuhan, Contrary to China’s Claims. Rowan Jacobsen. March 25, 2021.

USA Today. ‘I remember it very well’: Dr. Fauci describes a secret 2020 meeting to talk about COVID origins. Alison Young. June 17, 2021.

Boston Magazine. Could COVID-19 have escaped from a lab? Rowan Jacobsen. September 9, 2020. 

Washington Post. State Department releases cable that launched claims that coronavirus escaped from Chinese lab. John Hudson and Nate Jones. July 17, 2020. 

NBC News. Report says cellphone data suggests October shutdown at Wuhan lab, but experts are skeptical. Ken Dilanian, Ruaridh Arrow, Courtney Kube, Carol E. Lee, Louise Jones and Lorand Bodo. May 9, 2020. 

Times. Revealed: Seven year coronavirus trail from mine deaths to a Wuhan lab. George Arbuthnott, Jonathan Calvert, and Philip Sherwell. July 4, 2020.

BBC. Wuhan: City of silence; Looking for answers in the place where coronavirus started. John Sudworth. July 2020.

New York Times. In Hunt for Virus Source, W.H.O. Let China Take Charge. Selam Gebrekidan, Matt Apuzzo, Amy Qin and . November 2, 2020.

Guardian. Ignore the conspiracy theories: Scientists know Covid-19 wasn’t created in a lab. Peter Daszak. June 9, 2020. 

Daily Telegraph. Scientists say COVID-19 may have been cooked up in lab. Sharri Markson. June 1, 2020.

Science. Trump ‘owes us an apology.’ Chinese scientist at the center of COVID-19 origin theories speaks out. Jon Cohen. July 24, 2020.

Science. Reply to Science Magazine: Shi Zhengli Q&A. Shi Zhengli. July 15, 2020.

Minerva. Contradicting statements cast doubts on Chinese raw data. Aksel Fridstrøm. September 10, 2020. 

Minerva. The most logical explanation is that it comes from a laboratory. Aksel Fridstrøm and Nils August Andresen. July 2, 2020. 

Independent Science News. A Chinese PhD Thesis Sheds Important New Light On The Origin of the COVID-19. Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson. May 11, 2021.

Independent Science News. The case is building that COVID-19 had a lab origin. Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson. June 5, 2020.

Independent Science News. A proposed origin for SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 pandemic. Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson. July 15, 2020.

Sam Husseini Blog. Questioning the CDC: Is it a complete coincidence that China’s only BSL4 is in Wuhan? Audio and video. Sam Husseini. April 17, 2020.

GMWatch. Wuhan and US scientists used undetectable methods of genetic engineering on bat coronaviruses. Jonathan Matthews and Claire Robinson. May 20, 2020. 

GMWatch. Was the COVID-19 virus genetically engineered? Jonathan Matthews. April 22, 2020.

GMWatch. Why are the lab escape denialists telling such brazen lies? Jonathan Matthews. June 17, 2020. 

Transparency failures and the suppression of evidence regarding COVID-19

Associated Press. China clamps down in hidden hunt for coronavirus origins. Dake Kang, Maria Cheng And Sam McNeil. December 30, 2020.

The Wall Street Journal. On the ground in Wuhan, signs of China stalling probe of coronavirus origins. Jeremy Page and Natasha Khan. May 12, 2020.

The New York Times. 25 Days That Changed the World: How Covid-19 Slipped China’s Grasp. Chris Buckley, David D. Kirkpatrick, Amy Qin and Javier C. Hernández. December 30, 2020.

The New York Times. Chinese Citizen Journalist Sentenced to 4 Years for Covid Reporting. Vivian Wang. December 28, 2020.

ProPublica. Leaked Documents Show How China’s Army of Paid Internet Trolls Helped Censor the Coronavirus. Raymond Zhong, Paul Mozur, Aaron Krolik and Jeff Kao. December 19, 2020.

The New York Times. China peddles falsehoods to push the idea that the virus came from somewhere else. Javier C. Hernández. December 6, 2020.

Bloomberg. China Is Making It Harder to Solve the Mystery of How Covid Began. December 30, 2020.

Financial Times. Chinese media step up campaign to muddy probe into Covid origins. Christian Shepherd. November 26, 2020.

GMWatch. Journals censor lab origin theory for SARS-CoV-2. Claire Robinson. July 16, 2020.

Sky News Australia. Released emails reveal ‘no truth or transparency’ in letter regarding origin of COVID-19. Sharri Markson. November 22, 2020.

Accidents, leaks, containment failures, transparency failures in biosafety facilities

The New Yorker. The risks of building too many bio labs. Elisabeth Eaves. March 18, 2020. 

Financial Times. Scientists fear future leaks as top-level labs proliferate. Kiran Stacey, Helen Warrell, Yuan Yang. June 4, 2021.

Wall Street Journal. How Easily Can a Virus Escape From a Lab? By Alina Chan and Matt Ridley.  November 11, 2021.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Human error in high-biocontainment labs: a likely pandemic threat. Lynn Klotz. February 25, 2019. 

Axios. Lab risks face scrutiny amid COVID origins controversy. Alison Snyder and Bryan Walsh. June 10, 2021.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The grave risk of lab-created potentially pandemic pathogens. By Lynn C. Klotz, September 9, 2021.

ScienceFrance issues moratorium on prion research after fatal brain disease strikes two lab workers. Barbara Casassus, July 28, 2021.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Is there a role for the Biological Weapons Convention in oversight of lab-created potential pandemic pathogens? Lynn Klotz. August 27, 2019.

King’s College London. Mapping Maximum Biological Containment Labs Globally. Filipa Lentzos and Gregory Koblentz. May 2021.

James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. A Guide to Investigating Outbreak Origins: Nature versus the Laboratory. Richard Pilch, Miles Pomper, Jill Luster, and Filippa Lentzos. October 2020.

ProPublica. Here are six accidents UNC researchers had with lab-created coronaviruses. Alison Young and Jessica Blake. August 17, 2020. 

CBC. Canadian scientist sent deadly viruses to Wuhan lab months before RCMP asked to investigate. June 16, 2020.

The Frederick News-Post. CDC inspection findings reveal more about USAMRIID research suspension. Heather Mongilio. November 23, 2019. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Agriculture. U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID): description of inspection findings definitions. August 2019.

U.S. Government Accountability Office. High-containment laboratories: Comprehensive and up-to-date policies and stronger oversight mechanisms needed to improve safety. April 19, 2016. GAO-16-305. 

USA Today. 10 incidents discovered at the nation’s biolabs. Alison Young and Nick Penzenstadler. May 29, 2015. 

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Threatened pandemics and laboratory escapes: self-fulfilling prophecies. Martin Furmanski. March 31, 2014.

Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation. Laboratory Escapes and “Self-fulfilling prophecy” Epidemics. Martin Furmanski. February 17, 2014.

National Research Council. Biosecurity challenges of the global expansion of high-containment biological laboratories: summary of a workshop. 2012. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/13315 

US House of Representatives. Committee on Energy and Commerce. Hearing on germs, viruses, and secrets: the silent proliferation of bio-laboratories in the United States, 110th Congress. October 4, 2007.

US House of Representatives. Committee on Energy and Commerce. Hearing on Federal Oversight Of High-Containment Biolaboratories, One Hundred Eleventh Congress. September 22, 2009.

BMJ. Breaches of safety regulations are probable cause of recent SARS outbreak, WHO says. Jane Parry. May 22, 2004. doi: 10.1136/bmj.328.7450.1222-b

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Who isn’t equipped for a pandemic or bioterror attack? The WHO. Annie Sparrow. June 20, 2016.

Independent Science News. The long history of accidental laboratory releases of potential pandemic pathogens is being ignored in the COVID-19 media coverage. Sam Husseini. May 5, 2020.

GMWatch. COVID-19: A wake-up call for biosafety. Jonathan Matthews. April 24, 2020. 

USA Today. CDC failed to disclose lab incidents with bioterror pathogens to Congress. Alison Young. June 24, 2016.

Global Times. Biosafety guideline issued to fix chronic management loopholes at virus labs. Liu Caiyu and Leng Shumei. February 16, 2020.

CBS News. Investigation: U.S. company bungled Ebola response. The Associated Press. March 7, 2016. 

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The unacceptable risks of a man-made pandemic. Lynn Klotz and Edward Sylvester. August 7, 2012.

Networks of biodefense and biowarfare 

Salon. Did this virus come from a lab? Maybe not — but it exposes the threat of a biowarfare arms race. Sam Husseini. April 24, 2020.

Independent Science News. Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance Has Hidden Almost $40 Million In Pentagon Funding And Militarized Pandemic Science. Sam Husseini. December 16, 2020.

Sam Husseini Blog. Averting our gaze from biowarfare: pandemics and self-fulfilling prophecies. Sam Husseini. May 2020. 

The Boston Globe. The lure of bio-weapons. Bernard Lown and Prasannan Parthasarathi. February 23, 2005. 

Monterey Institute of International Studies. Beijing on biohazards: Chinese experts on bioweapons nonproliferation issues. Amy E. Smithson, Editor. August 2007. The James Martin Center For Nonproliferation Studies.

Deadly Cultures: Biological Weapons since 1945. Mark Wheelis, Lajos Rózsa, and Malcolm Dando (Editors). Harvard University Press, 2006.

Biowarfare and Terrorism. Francis Boyle. 2005. Clarity Press, Inc.

Preventing a Biological Arms Race. Susan Wright (Editor). The MIT Press, 1990. 

Biohazard. Ken Alibek with Stephen Handelman. Random House: New York, 1999. 

Debates on gain-of-function research

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Creating dangerous viruses in the lab is a bad way to guard against future pandemics. By Laura H. Kahn.November 19, 2021.

Financial TimesGenetic engineering: why some fear the next pandemic could be lab-made. By Kiran Stacey and Izabella Kaminska, November 17, 2021.

Forbes. Leave The Bats Alone: It’s Long Past Time To Halt Gain-Of-Function Research On Deadly Viruses. By Steven Salzberg.  October 11, 2021.

Washington Post. Manipulating viruses and risking pandemics is too dangerous. It’s time to stop. By Kevin Esvelt. October 6, 2021.

Washington Post
A science in the shadows: Controls on ‘gain of function’ experiments with supercharged pathogens have been undercut despite concerns about lab leaks. By David Willman and Madison Muller. August 26, 2021.

The National Academies Press. Potential risks and benefits of gain-of-function research: summary of a workshop. 2015. 

Forbes. Should we allow scientists to create dangerous super-viruses? Steven Salzberg. October 20, 2014. 

The Cambridge Working Group. Cambridge Working Group consensus statement on the creation of potential pandemic pathogens (PPPs). July 14, 2014. 

mBio. Can limited scientific value of potential pandemic pathogen experiments justify the risks? Marc Lipsitch. October 14, 2014. doi: https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.02008-14 

mBio. Research on Highly Pathogenic H5N1 Influenza Virus: The Way Forward. Anthony S. Fauci. September-October 2012, 3(5): e00359-12. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00359-12

The Hill. An economist’s perspective on ‘gain-of-function’ virus research. Scott Sumner. July 8, 2021.

PLoS Medicine. Ethical alternatives to experiments with novel potential pandemic pathogens. Marc Lipsitch and Alison Galvani. 2014. 11(5): e1001646. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001646  

Scientific papers on the origins of SARS-CoV-2

Nature Portfolio. Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in the environment and animal samples of the Huanan Seafood Market. By George Gao et al. February 25, 2022.

Zenodo. The Huanan market was the epicenter of SARS-CoV-2 emergence. By Michael Worobey et al. February 26, 2022.

Zenodo. SARS-CoV-2 emergence very likely resulted from at least two zoonotic events. By Jonathan Pekar et al. February 26, 2022.

Nature Portfolio. Coronaviruses with a SARS-CoV-2-like receptor-binding domain allowing ACE2-mediated entry into human cells isolated from bats of Indochinese peninsula. Sarah Temmam et al. September 17, 2021. Under review.

Nature. Origins of SARS-CoV-2: window is closing for key scientific studies. August 25, 2021.

Science. The animal origin of SARS-CoV-2. By Spyros Lytras, Wei Xia, Joseph Hughes, Xiaowei Jiang and David L. Robertson. August 17, 2021.

Cell. The Origins of SARS-CoV-2: A Critical Review (pre-proof). Edward C. Holmes et al. August 20, 2021.

mBio. Can Science Help Resolve the Controversy on the Origins of the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic? Arturo Arturo Casadevall, Susan R. Weiss and Michael Imperiale. August 2, 2021. 

Independent Science News. Phylogeographic Mapping of Newly Discovered Coronaviruses Pinpoints the Direct Progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 as Originating from Mojiang, China. Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson. August 2, 2021.

Frontiers in Public Health. Lethal Pneumonia Cases in Mojiang Miners (2012) and the Mineshaft Could Provide Important Clues to the Origin of SARS-CoV-2. Alex C. Speciale. July 13, 2021.

MediumA response to “The Origins of SARS-CoV-2: A Critical Review. Alina Chan. July 12, 2021.

Nature Scientific Reports. In silico comparison of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-ACE2 binding affinities across species and implications for virus origin. Sakshi Piplani, Puneet Kumar Singh, David A. Winkler, Nikolai Petrovsky. June 24, 2021. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-92388-5

bioRxiv. Recovery of deleted deep sequencing data sheds more light on the early Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. Jesse Bloom. June 22, 2021. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.18.449051

In Vivo. On the Origin of SARS-CoV-2: Did Cell Culture Experiments Lead to Increased Virulence of the Progenitor Virus for Humans? Bernd Kaina. May 2021, 35 (3) 1313-1326; DOI: https://doi.org/10.21873/invivo.12384

Antiviral Research. The spike glycoprotein of the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV contains a furin-like cleavage site absent in CoV of the same clade. Bruno Coutard et al. February 10, 2020. DOI: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2020.104742

Preprint.  The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus. Botao Xiao. February 2020. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.21799.29601

Infectious Diseases & Immunity. Origins of SARS-CoV-2: Focusing on Science. Zhengli Shi. April 2021 – Volume 1, Issue 1, p.3-4 doi: 10.1097/ID9.0000000000000008

Environmental Chemistry Letters. Should we discount the laboratory origin of COVID-19? Rossana Segreto, Yuri Deigin, Kevin McCairn, Alejandro Sousa, Dan Sirotkin, Karl Sirotkin, Jonathan J. Couey, Adrian Jones & Daoyu Zhang. March 25, 2021.

Environmental Chemistry Letters. Tracing the origins of SARS-COV-2 in coronavirus phylogenies: a review. Erwan Sallard, José Halloy, Didier Casane, Etienne Decroly and Jacques van Helden. February 4, 2021. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10311-020-01151-1

The Lancet. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Chaolin Huang et al. January 30, 2020. Volume 395: 497–506. 

Nature. A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin. Peng Zhou, Xing-Lou Yang, Xian-Guang Wang, Ben Hu,…and Zheng-Li Shi. February 3, 2020. 579(7798): 270-273. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2012-7

Nature. Addendum: A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin. Peng Zhou, Xing-Lou Yang, Xian-Guang Wang, Ben Hu,…and Zheng-Li Shi. November 17, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2951-z

Nature Medicine. The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2. Kristian G. Andersen, Andrew Rambaut, W. Ian Lipkin, Edward C. Holmes, Robert F. Garry. April 2020. Volume 26, pages 450-455. 

Journal of Medical Virology. Questions concerning the proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2. Murat Seyran, Damiano Pizzol, Parise Adadi…and Adam M. Brufsky. September 3, 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.26478 

BioEssays. Might SARS‐CoV‐2 have arisen via serial passage through an animal host or cell culture? Karl Sirotkin and Dan Sirotkin. August 12, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1002/bies.202000091

Frontiers in Public Health. Lethal pneumonia cases in Mojiang miners (2012) and the mineshaft could provide important clues to the origin of SARS-CoV-2. Monali Rahalkar and Rahul Bahulikar. September 17, 2020. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.581569

BioEssays. The genetic structure of SARS‐CoV‐2 does not rule out a laboratory origin. Rossana Segreto and Yuri Deigin. November 17, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1002/bies.202000240

bioRxiv. SARS-CoV-2 is well adapted for humans. What does this mean for re-emergence? Shing Hei Zhan, Benjamin E. Deverman, Yujia Alina Chan. May 2, 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.01.073262 

Zenodo. Where Did the 2019 Coronavirus Pandemic Begin and How Did it Spread? The People’s Liberation Army Hospital in Wuhan China and Line 2 of the Wuhan Metro System Are Compelling Answers. Steven Carl Quay. October 28, 2020. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.4119262

Zenodo. A Bayesian analysis concludes beyond a reasonable doubt that SARS-CoV-2 is not a natural zoonosis but instead is laboratory derived. Dr. Steven Quay. January 29, 2021.

Scientific Reports. Animal sales from Wuhan wet markets immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Xiao Xiao et al. June 7, 2021. Sci Rep 11, 11898 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-91470-2

Minerva. The evidence which suggests that this is no naturally evolved virus: A reconstructed historical aetiology of the SARS-CoV-2 spike. Birger Sørensen, Angus Dalgleish & Andres Susrud. July 1, 2020.

ResearchGate. Is considering a genetic-manipulation origin for SARS-CoV-2 a conspiracy theory that must be censored? Rossana Segreto and Yuri Deigin. April 2020. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.31358.13129/1

Preprints. Major concerns on the identification of bat coronavirus strain RaTG13 and quality of related Nature paper. Xiaoxu Lin, Shizhong Chen. June 5, 2020. 2020060044. doi: 10.20944/preprints202006.0044.v1 

Preprints. The abnormal nature of the fecal swab sample used for NGS analysis of RaTG13 genome sequence imposes a question on the correctness of the RaTG13 sequence. Monali Rahalkar and Rahul Bahulikar. August 11, 2020. doi: 10.20944/preprints202008.0205.v1 

OSF Preprints. COVID-19, SARS and bats coronaviruses genomes unexpected exogeneous RNA sequences. Jean-Claude Perez and Luc Montagnier. April 25, 2020. doi:10.31219/osf.io/d9e5g 

Zenodo. HIV man-manipulated coronavirus genome evolution trends. Jean-Claude Perez and Luc Montagnier. August 2, 2020. 

Emerging Microbes & Infections. HIV-1 did not contribute to the 2019-nCoV genome. Xiao Chuan, Li Xiaojun, Liu Shuying, Sang Yongming, Gao Shou-Jiang and Gao Feng. 2020. 9(1): 378-381. doi: 10.1080/22221751.2020.1727299

Nature. Identifying SARS-CoV-2-related coronaviruses in Malayan pangolins. Tommy Tsan-Yuk Lam, Na Jia, Ya-Wei Zhang, Marcus Ho-Hin Shum, Jia-Fu Jiang, Hua-Chen Zhu, Yi-Gang Tong, Yong-Xia Shi, Xue-Bing Ni, Yun-Shi Liao, Wen-Juan Li, Bao-Gui Jiang, Wei Wei, Ting-Ting Yuan, Kui Zheng, Xiao-Ming Cui, Jie Li, Guang-Qian Pei, Xin Qiang, William Yiu-Man Cheung, Lian-Feng Li, Fang-Fang Sun, Si Qin, Ji-Cheng Huang, Gabriel M. Leung, Edward C. Holmes, Yan-Ling Hu, Yi Guan & Wu-Chun Cao. March 26, 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2169-0

PLoS Pathogens. Are pangolins the intermediate host of the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)? Ping Liu, Jing-Zhe Jiang, Xiu-Feng Wan, Yan Hua, Linmiao Li, Jiabin Zhou, Xiaohu Wang, Fanghui Hou, Jing Chen, Jiejian Zou, Jinping Chen. May 14, 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008421

Nature. Isolation of SARS-CoV-2-related coronavirus from Malayan pangolins. Kangpeng Xiao, Junqiong Zhai, Yaoyu Feng, Niu Zhou, Xu Zhang, Jie-Jian Zou, Na Li, Yaqiong Guo, Xiaobing Li, Xuejuan Shen, Zhipeng Zhang, Fanfan Shu, Wanyi Huang, Yu Li, Ziding Zhang, Rui-Ai Chen, Ya-Jiang Wu, Shi-Ming Peng, Mian Huang, Wei-Jun Xie, Qin-Hui Cai, Fang-Hui Hou, Wu Chen, Lihua Xiao & Yongyi She. May 7, 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2313-x

Current Biology. Probable Pangolin Origin of SARS-CoV-2 Associated with the COVID-19 Outbreak. Tao Zhang, Qunfu Wu, Zhigang Zhang. March 19, 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.03.022

bioRxiv. Single source of pangolin CoVs with a near identical Spike RBD to SARS-CoV-2. Yujia Alina Chan and Shing Hei Zhan. October 23, 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.07.07.184374

Infection, Genetics and Evolution. COVID-19: Time to exonerate the pangolin from the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to humans. Roger Frutos, Jordi Serra-Cobo, Tianmu Chen and Christian A. Devaux. Volume 84, October 2020, 104493. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meegid.2020.104493

bioRxiv. No evidence of coronaviruses or other potentially zoonotic viruses in Sunda pangolins (Manis javanica) entering the wildlife trade via Malaysia. Jimmy Lee, Tom Hughes, Mei-Ho Lee, Hume Field, Jeffrine Japning Rovie-Ryan, Frankie Thomas Sitam, Symphorosa Sipangkui, Senthilvel K.S.S. Nathan, Diana Ramirez, Subbiah Vijay Kumar, Helen Lasimbang, Jonathan H. Epstein, Peter Daszak. June 19, 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.06.19.158717

Cell. A genomic perspective on the origin and emergence of SARS-CoV-2. Yong-Zhen Zhang, Edward C. Holmes. April 2020 181(2):223-227. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.03.035.

Current Biology. A novel bat coronavirus closely related to SARS-CoV-2 contains natural insertions at the S1/S2 cleavage site of the spike protein. Hong Zhou, Xing Chen, Tao Hu, Juan Li, Hao Song, Yanran Liu, Peihan Wang, Di Liu, Jing Yang, Edward C. Holmes, Alice C. Hughes, Yuhai Bi, and Weifeng Shi. June 8, 2020. 30: 2196-2203. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.05.023

aRxiv. The bat coronavirus RmYN02 is characterized by a 6-nucleotide deletion at the S1/S2 junction, and its claimed PAA insertion is highly doubtful. Yuri Deigin and Rossana Segreto. December 1, 2020.

Zenodo. Unusual features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome suggesting sophisticated laboratory modification rather than natural evolution and delineation of its probable synthetic route. Li-Meng Yan, Shu Kang, Jie Guan, and Shanchang Hu. September 14, 2020. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.4028829  

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. In Response: Yan et al Preprint Examinations of the Origin of SARS-CoV-2. Kelsey Lane Warmbrod, Rachel M. West, Nancy D. Connell and Gigi Kwik Gronvall. September 21, 2020.

Zenodo. Proposed SARS-CoV-2 Spillover During 2019 Review of Samples from a Mineshaft in Mojiang, Yunnan Province, China. Anonymous. September 14, 2020. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.4029544

ResearchGate. An investigation into the WIV databases that were taken offline. Billy Bostickson et al. February 2021.

ResearchGate. Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co. Rodolphe de Maistre, Gilles Demaneuf and Billy Bostickson. March 2021.

Zenodo.  1. Proposed Forensic Investigation of Wuhan Laboratories. Billy Bostickson and Yvette Ghannam. March 2021. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4640383

ResearchGate. 2. Investigation of RaTG13 and the 7896 Clade. Billy Bostickson and Yvette Ghannam. March 2021. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.22382.33607

ResearchGate. 3. Wuhan Laboratories, Bat Research and Biosafety. Billy Bostickson and Yvette Ghannam. April 2021. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.32006.29761

Investigative blog articles on the origins of SARS-CoV-2

Medium. Lab-made? SARS-CoV-2 genealogy through the lens of gain-of-function research. Yuri Deigin. April 22, 2020.

Medium. Fearsome viruses and where to find them. Moreno Colaiacovo. November 15, 2020.

Medium. Rushed data collection of suspected early Covid-19 cases in Wuhan. Gilles Demaneuf. October 15, 2020.

FOI documents on origins of Covid-19, gain-of-function research and biolabs

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In July 2020, U.S. Right to Know began submitting public records requests in pursuit of data from public institutions in an effort to discover what is known about the origins of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease Covid-19. We are also researching accidents, leaks and other mishaps at laboratories where pathogens of pandemic potential are stored and modified, and the risks of gain-of-function research, which involve experiments on such pathogens to increase their host range, infectivity, transmissibility or pathogenicity.

For more information about our investigation, see our biohazards page. You can read our reporting here on the documents we have obtained so far from Freedom of Information requests. The documents are posted below in chronological order in which we received them.

University of Texas Medical Branch

Vineet Menachery/Pei-Yong Shi/UTMB batch #2 (5.4.22) (5070 pages)
LeDuc/UTMB batch #1 (4.27.22) (4578 pages)
UTMB-Wuhan Institute of Virology memorandum of understanding (4.20.22) (9 pages)

See our reporting: Wuhan lab can delete data in ‘explosive’ legal agreement with U.S. lab. (4.20.22)

U.S. State Department records

State Department batch #13 (4.26.22) (16 pages)
State Department batch #12 (3.28.22) (45 pages)

See our reporting: Lab accident is ‘most likely but least probed’ COVID origin, State Dept. memo says (3.28.22)

State Department batch #11 (2.24.22) (52 pages)
State Department batch #10 (1.25.22) (47 pages)
State Department batch #9 (12.27.21) (20 pages)
State Department batch #8 (12.7.21) (16 pages)
State Department batch #7 (10.28.21) (37 pages)
State Department batch #6 (9.27.21) (100 pages)
State Department batch #5 (7.26.21) (56 pages)

  • January 2018 cable on the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s BSL-4 laboratory (a more complete version of the cable first reported by Josh Rogin in the Washington Post)

State Department batch #4 (6.24.21) (129 pages)
State Department batch #3 (5.24.21) (114 pages)
State Department batch #2 (4.26.21) (37 pages)
State Department batch #1 (3.24.21) (92 pages)

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention records

CDC batch #4 (4.13.22) (1,864 pages)
CDC batch #3 (4.13.22) (1,864 pages)

See our reporting: Emails raise questions about China’s sway over first WHO mission on COVID-19.

CDC batch #2 (6.28.21) (1,302 pages)
CDC batch #1 (3.05.21) (1,063 pages)

U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) records

HHS batch #4 (4.8.22) (248 pages)
HHS batch #3 (4.8.22) (325 pages)
HHS batch #2 (1.26.22) (321 pages)
HHS batch #1
(12.30.21) (266 pages)

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) records

USAID batch #2 (4.7.22) (357 pages)
USAID batch #1 (3.17.22) (42 pages)

National Institutes of Health (NIH) records

NIH batch #2 (3.3.22) (308 pages)
NIH batch #1 (2.1.22) (322 pages)

Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) grant documents

DTRA batch #2 (2.23.22) (311 pages)

Records obtained from a FOIA request to DTRA, containing DTRA grants and awards to the EcoHealth Alliance, for projects such as: biosurveillance for zoonotic spillover of viruses in rural communities in India; reducing the threat of MERS coronavirus and avian influenza; predicting biothreat impacts from early stage data via transfer learning, and more.

DTRA batch #1 (2.22.22) (2790 pages)

Records obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, containing DTRA grants and awards to the EcoHealth Alliance, for projects such as: developing a rapid identification tool for undisclosed emerging infectious disease events, understanding Rift Valley fever in South Africa, serological biosurveillance for spillover of henipaviruses and filoviruses in Malaysia and India, and others.

UC Davis/Jonna Mazet emails and documents

Documents obtained through a California Public Records Act request for records of UC Davis Vice Provost Jonna Mazet. Dr. Mazet was the principal investigator on the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Emerging Pandemic Threat (EPT) Program PREDICT-1 and PREDICT-2 grants with the EcoHealth Alliance.

Batch #4 (1.10.22) (261 pages)
Batch #3 (12.7.21) (137 pages)
Batch #2 (12.7.21) (541 pages)
Batch #1 (10.27.21)(139 pages)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) records

Records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) communications with or about the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other Wuhan-based research institutes; EcoHealth Alliance; China; and the Global Health Security Agenda. Records include proposed SARS-CoV-2 human challenge studies (not clinical trials) to evaluate COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, associated with the published World Health Organization nCoV Research & Development Blueprint. Draft informed consent and study protocols as well as descriptions of biocontainment units and SARS-CoV-2 challenge strains are included.

Batch #1 (12.10.21)(262 pages)

Xiang-Dong Fu emails

Documents obtained through a California Public Records Act request for records of Professor Xiang-Dong Fu, Distinguished Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California- San Diego. Dr. Fu has been a member of the International Executive Committee of Performance Evaluation of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Batch #1 (11.12.21) (641 pages)

See our reporting:

Latinne et al. (2020) and the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

NCBI emails (10.12.21): File #1, File #2, File #3, File #4, File #5, File #6, File #7, File #8. Emails between NCBI and scientists from Ecohealth Alliance and Wuhan Institute of Virology regarding the submission of genetic sequence information about bat betacoronavirus isolate 7896, which is very closely related to RaTG13.

National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB)

NSABB emails (10.11.21) (104 pages). Emails between Mary Ellen Groesch, NSABB members, and NIH staff regarding the replacement of 11 NSABB members, and 2014 plans to discuss dual use research guidelines (DURC) and a new biosecurity and biosafety program.

Documents obtained through FOIA to the NIH for email correspondence of Dr. Mary Ellen Groesch, Office of the Director, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and former executive director of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB).

Shan-Lu Liu emails

Zhengli Shi’s edits to a widely-cited EM&I commentary titled “No credible evidence supporting claims of the laboratory engineering of SARS-CoV-2.” (9.27.21) (10 pages). Document obtained through an Ohio Public Records Act request for a missing attachment from the email records of Ohio State University Professor Shan-Lu Liu.

Shan-Lu Liu emails: Ohio State University (8.4.21) (488 pages). Documents obtained through an Ohio Public Records Act request for the email records of Shan-Lu Liu, Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University.

See our reporting:

CSIRO emails

CSIRO emails: Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Records. Documents obtained through an Australian Freedom of Information Act request to CSIRO for email records between Gary Crameri, Researcher, Health and Biosecurity Business Unit, Australian Center for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) of CSIRO, and collaborators, including Drs. Lin-Fa Wang and Edward C. Holmes.

CSIRO Batch #5 (8.31.21) (63 pages)
CSIRO Batch #4 (8.31.21) (99 pages)
CSIRO Batch #3 (8.31.21) (50 pages)
CSIRO Batch #2 (8.31.21) (4 pages)
CSIRO Batch #1 (8.31.21) (154 pages)

Fang Li emails

Fang Li emails: (6.25.21) (1234 pages). Documents obtained from public records requests for emails of Fang Li, PhD, Professor, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota.

Linda Saif emails

Linda Saif emails batch #1: (4.7.21) (303 pages). Documents obtained from public records requests for emails of Linda Saif, PhD, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Veterinary Preventative Medicine, Center for Food Animal Health, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Ohio State University.

See our reporting: Chinese-linked journal editor sought help to rebut Covid-19 lab origin hypothesis (5.24.21)

Ralph Baric emails

Ralph Baric emails batch #4: (12.30.21) (24 pages) Documents made available through a North Carolina public records law request for communications of Professor Ralph Baric related to biodefense and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Ralph Baric emails batch #3: (2.25.21) (22,736 pages) Documents obtained from public records requests for emails Ralph Baric, PhD, William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor in the Department of  Epidemiology and Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Ralph Baric emails batch #2: (2.17.21) (332 pages).

See our reporting:

Ralph Baric emails batch #1 (12.14.20) (83,416 pages). Dr. Ralph Baric’s emails with EcoHealth Alliance, Wuhan Institute of Virology, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and experts in biodefense and infectious diseases.

See our reporting:

Rebekah Kading and Tony Schountz emails

Rebekah Kading and Tony Schountz (1.21.21) (2276 pages). Documents obtained from Colorado State University professors Rebekah Kading and Tony Schountz of the Center for Vector-Born Infectious Diseases (CVID).

See our reporting:

National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

NCBI Emails (12.29.20) (63 pages). Emails with coronavirus scientists who authored four key studies on coronavirus origins, about their revisions to genomic datasets associated with these studies.

See our reporting: Altered datasets raise more questions about reliability of key studies on coronavirus origins (12.29.20)

Rita Colwell emails

Rita Colwell emails with EcoHealth Alliance staff (11.18.20) (466 pages). Documents obtained from public records requests for emails of Rita Colwell, PhD, Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland at College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a member of the EcoHealth Alliance board of directors.

See our reporting:

FOI lawsuits on origins of Covid-19, gain-of-function research and biolabs

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U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit investigative public health group, has filed four lawsuits against federal agencies for violating provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The lawsuits are part of our efforts to uncover what is known about the origins of novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, leaks or mishaps at biosafety labs, and the risks of gain-of-function research that seeks to augment the infectivity or lethality of potential pandemic pathogens.

We have filed more than 90 state, federal, and international public records requests seeking information about the origins of SARS-CoV-2, and the risks of biosafety labs and gain-of-function research.

Read more about our findings so far, why we are conducting this investigation, recommended readings and documents we have obtained.

FOI lawsuits filed

(1) U.S. Department of State. On April 25, 2022, USRTK filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State for violating provisions of FOIA. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks documents and correspondence of State employees, including C.S. Eliot Kang, Ann Ganzer, David Feith, Bruce Turner, Robert Wood and Laura Gross, related to a State Dept. investigation of the origins of Covid-19, EcoHealth Alliance, gain-of-function research, dual use research of concern, the Global Virome Project, and other matters. Case 1:22-cv-01130-JMC.

(2) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. On April 18, 2022, USRTK filed a lawsuit against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for violating the provisions of the North Carolina Public Records Act. The lawsuit, filed in North Carolina District Court in Orange County, seeks records for seven public records requests to the University of North Carolina, including: (1) emails between Prof. Ralph Baric, former Prof. Lishan Su or Ms. Toni Baric with the Wuhan Institute of Virology or the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention or the EcoHealth Alliance, or others; (2) emails to or from Prof. Ralph Baric containing any of the search terms “DEFUSE” or “DARPA” or “DTRA”. Case 22CV463.

(3) Defense Threat Reduction Agency
. On January 14, 2022, USRTK filed a lawsuit against the DTRA for violating provisions of the FOIA. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks: (1) finished intelligence, documents and reports about accidents, containment failures or deliberate release of biological agents from facilities in 21 countries around the world; (2) assessments of risks, hazards and efficacy of BSL-2, BSL-3 and BSL-4 containment schemes (including flaws, failings or weaknesses) in those same 21 countries; and, (3) grant proposals and other documents from the EcoHealth Alliance and Metabiota. Case 3:22-cv-00299-JCS. 

(4) National Institutes of Health. On November 8, 2021, USRTK filed a lawsuit against the NIH for violating provisions of the FOIA. The lawsuit (amended complaint filed 2/10/22), filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, seeks records for nine FOIA requests to NIH regarding the origins of SARS-CoV-2, and communications between the NIH and EcoHealth Alliance or the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The records requests also included EcoHealth Alliance grant applications, scientific reviews, funding agreements, and correspondence with Dr. Erik Stemmy, NIAID (NIH) project officer, as well as documents regarding NIH’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML), the DARPA-funded Preventing Emerging Pathogenic Threats (PREEMPT) Program, and communication between the NIH and the World Health Organization (WHO) concerning the origins of COVID-19. This is our second FOIA lawsuit against NIH related to the origins of COVID-19. Case 1:21-cv-02936-TSC.

(5) U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
: On October 14, 2021, USRTK filed a lawsuit against USAID for violating provisions of the FOIA. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks records related to USAID funding and oversight of EcoHealth Alliance (EHA), which was a lead consortium partner in USAID-funded projects in the Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program. Initiated in 2009, USAID’s EPT PREDICT programs funded collaborations between EHA and researchers at University of California, Davis; Wuhan Institute of Virology; Metabiota, Inc.; and others, to study the pandemic potential of infectious diseases including bat-associated coronaviruses. Case 3:21-cv-08058-SK.

(6) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): On October 14, 2021, USRTK filed a lawsuit against HHS for violating provisions of the FOIA. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks correspondence between senior HHS employees, including Robert Kadlec, assistant secretary for preparedness and response, with the World Health Organization’s director general’s office, and others, related to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Case 3:21-cv-08056-TSH.

(7) University of Maryland: On October 6, 2021, USRTK filed a lawsuit against the University of Maryland for violating provisions of the Maryland Public Information Act.  The lawsuit, filed in Maryland Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, seeks correspondence and documents of Professor Rita R. Colwell, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park, relevant to the origins of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Colwell serves on the board of directors of the EcoHealth Alliance, which funded and conducted research with bat coronaviruses closely related to SARS-CoV-2 in collaboration with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and others. Case CAL21-11730.

(8) U.S. Food and Drug Administration: On Feb. 4, 2021, USRTK filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for violating provisions of FOIA.  The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks documents and correspondence with or about China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the EcoHealth Alliance, which partnered with and funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology, among other subjects. Case 21-cv-00884-KAW.

(9) U.S. Department of Education: On Dec. 17, 2020 USRTK filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education for violating provisions of FOIA. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks documents that the Education Department requested from the University of Texas’ Medical Branch at Galveston about its funding agreements and scientific and/or research cooperation with China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. Case 3:20-cv-09117-DMR.

(10) U.S. Department of State: On Nov. 30, 2020 USRTK filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State for violating provisions of FOIA. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks documents and correspondence with or about China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the EcoHealth Alliance, which partnered with and funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology, among other subjects. See news release. Case 3:20-cv-08415-JCS.

(11) National Institutes of Health: On Nov. 5, 2020 USRTK filed a lawsuit against National Institutes of Health (NIH) for violating provisions of FOIA. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., seeks correspondence with or about organizations such as the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the EcoHealth Alliance, which partnered with and funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology. See news release. Case 1:20-cv-03196-CKK.

U.S. Right to Know is an investigative research group focused on promoting transparency for public health. For more information about FOI lawsuits we have filed to vindicate the public’s right to know, see our FOIA litigation page.

Institutional Biosafety Commmittee (IBC) Meeting Minutes

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U.S. Right to Know has obtained the following Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) meeting minutes though freedom of information requests.

IBCs review an institution’s protocols for working with potentially harmful biological agents, including pathogenic microorganisms, and provide biosafety recommendations for conducting the research. The IBC’s role is to review safety protocols; issue biosafety and protocol recommendations, including the appropriate biosafety level containment in which the research should be conducted; and assess risks to research personnel, the surrounding community, and to the public. USRTK collects and publishes IBC meeting minutes to increase the transparency of biohazard research and associated risks.

This page is a work in progress.  We will update it as we receive more IBC meeting minutes.

Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) IBC Meeting minutes
Batch #1 (12.30.21) (43 pages)

Washington State University (WSU) IBC Meeting minutes
Batch #4 (12.30.21) (149 pages)
Batch #3 (12.30.21) (160 pages)
Batch #2 (12.30.21) (127 pages)
Batch #1 (12.30.21) (111 pages)

University of California, Davis (UC Davis) IBC Meeting minutes
Batch #6  2017 (12.30.21) (86 pages)
Batch #5  2016 (12.30.21) (97 pages)
Batch #4   2015 (12.30.21) (102 pages)
Batch #3   2014 (12.30.21) (202 pages)
Batch #2   2013 (12.30.21) (110 pages)
Batch #1   2005 (12.30.21) (23 pages)

Conversations Between Coca-Cola and the CDC

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Milbank Quarterly: Public Meets Private: Conversations Between Coca-Cola and the CDC, by Nason Maani Hessari, Gary Ruskin, Martin McKee and David Stuckler (1.29.19)

Conclusion: “The emails we obtained using FOIA requests reveal efforts by Coca-Cola to lobby the CDC to advance corporate objectives rather than health, including to influence the World Health Organization. Our findings provide a rare example of the ways in which corporate interests attempt to influence public health practitioners ‘in their own words,’ and they demonstrate a need for clearer policies on avoiding partnerships with manufacturers of harmful products.”

USRTK News Release: Study Shows Coca-Cola’s Efforts to Influence CDC on Diet and Obesity (1.29.19)

The U.S. Right to Know Food Industry Collection, containing Coca-Cola emails with the CDC, is posted in the free, searchable UCSF Food Industry Documents Archive.

Congresswomen call for investigation

News Release: Pingree, DeLauro to HHS Inspector General: Investigate Coca-Cola’s Lobbying of CDC (2.4.19)

Letter to HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson (2.4.19)

Salon: Two congresswomen want an investigation into CDC’s crooked relationship with Coca-Cola, by Nicole Karlis (2.5.19)

News coverage of Milbank Quarterly study

Washington Post: Coca-Cola Emails Reveal How Soda Industry Tries to Influence Health Officials, by Paige Winfield Cunningham (1.29.19)

Associated Press: Food industry sway over public health gets new scrutiny, by Candace Choi (1.29.19)

Politico: Coca-Cola Tried to Influence CDC on Research and Policy, New Report States, by Jesse Chase-Lubitz (1.29.19)

CNN: Old emails hold new clues to Coca-Cola and CDC’s controversial relationship, by Jacqueline Howard (1.29.19)

BMJ: Coca-Cola and obesity: study shows efforts to influence US Centers for Disease Control, by Gareth Iacobucci (1.30.19)

Salon: New emails reveal CDC employees were doing the bidding of Coca-Cola, by Nicole Karlis (2.1.19)

Mother Jones: Study: Emails Show How Coca-Cola Tried to Influence Global Health Policy, by Kari Sonde (2.1.19)

Atlanta Constitution Journal: Coke and CDC, Atlanta icons, share cozy relationship, emails show, by Alan Judd (2.6.19)

Related journal and news articles

BMJ: Conflicts of interest compromise US public health agency’s mission, say scientists, by Jeanne Lenzer (10.24.16)

Science: U.S. lawmakers want NIH and CDC foundations to say more about donors, by Jeffrey Mervis (6.29.18)

BMJ: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protecting the Private Good? By Jeanne Lenzer (5.15.15)

Type Investigations: Firm Pays Government to Challenge Pesticide Research, by Sheila Kaplan (3.1.11)

BMJ: US public health agency sued over failure to release emails from Coca-Cola, by Martha Rosenberg (2.28.18)

San Diego Union Tribune: UCSD hires Coke-funded health researcher, by Morgan Cook (9.29.16)

More reporting on Coca-Cola’s influence

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health: Science organisations and Coca-Cola’s ‘war’ with the public health community: insights from an internal industry document, by Pepita Barlow, Paulo Serôdio, Gary Ruskin, Martin McKee and David Stuckler (3.14.18)

Critical Public Health: How food companies influence evidence and opinion — straight from the horse’s mouth, by Gary Sacks, Boyd A. Swinburn, Adrian J. Cameron and Gary Ruskin (9.13.17)

Environmental Health News: Coca-Cola’s “war” with the public health community, by Gary Ruskin (4.3.18)

BMJ: Coca-Cola’s secret influence on medical and science journalists, by Paul Thacker (4.5.17)

Politico: Trump’s top health official traded tobacco stock while leading anti-smoking efforts, by Sarah Karlin-Smith and Brianna Ehley (1.30.18)

New York Times: New C.D.C. Chief Saw Coca-Cola as Ally in Obesity Fight, by Sheila Kaplan (7.22.17)

Associated Press: Emails reveal Coke’s role in anti-obesity group, by Candice Choi (11.24.15) and Excerpts from emails between Coke and Global Energy Balance Network

New York Times: Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets, by Anahad O’Connor (8.9.15)

News articles by U.S. Right to Know staff

The Hill: What is going on at the CDC? Health agency ethics need scrutiny, by Carey Gillam (8.27.16)

Huffington Post: More Coca-Cola Ties Seen Inside U.S. Centers For Disease Control, by Carey Gillam (8.1.16)

Huffington Post: CDC Official Exits Agency After Coca-Cola Connections Come to Light, by Carey Gillam (6.30.16)

Huffington Post: Beverage Industry Finds Friend Inside U.S. Health Agency, by Carey Gillam (6.28.16)

Forbes: The Coca-Cola Network: Soda Giant Mines Connections With Officials And Scientists To Wield Influence, by Rob Waters (7.11.17)

Forbes: Trump’s Pick To Head CDC Partnered With Coke, Boosting Agency’s Longstanding Ties To Soda Giant, by Rob Waters (7.10.17)

U.S. Right to Know is a plaintiff in a FOIA lawsuit regarding CDC

CrossFit and U.S. Right to Know are suing the Department of Health and Human Services seeking records about why the Foundation for the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Foundation) and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (NIH Foundation) have not disclosed donor information as required by law. (10.4.18)

Coca-Cola/ILSI influence on CDC in China

New York Times: How Chummy Are Junk Food Giants and China’s Health Officials? They Share Offices, by Andrew Jacobs (1.9.19)

Journal of Public Health Policy: Soda industry influence on obesity science and policy in China, by Susan Greenhalgh (1.9.19)

BMJ: Making China safe for Coke: how Coca-Cola shaped obesity science and policy in China, by Susan Greenhalgh (1.9.19)

BMJ: The hidden power of corporations, by Martin McKee, Sarah Steele and David Stuckler (1.9.19)

CDC FOIA document batches

(1) CDC Bowman Malaspina

(2) CDC Janet Collins

(3) CDC Culbertson Ryan Liburd Galuska

(4) CDC Bowman Stokes 2018

Additional documents

(1) CDC SPIDER letter

(2) Three Barbara Bowman emails