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

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Here is a reading list of articles from the past six months 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 research, which aims to increase the host range, transmissibility, infectivity or pathogenicity of potential pandemic pathogens. This list is a work in progress. If you have suggestions for other readings that should be on this page, please send them to us via email at

Nature. Wuhan market samples fail to shed further light on COVID origins. By Dyani Lewis. May 4, 2023.

bioRxiv. Association between SARS-CoV-2 and metagenomic content of samples from the Huanan Seafood Market. Jesse Bloom. April 26, 2023.

KFF Health News. Did a Military Lab Spill Anthrax Into Public Waterways? New Book Reveals Details of a US Leak. By Alison Young. April 25, 2023.

The New York Times. Chinese Censorship Is Quietly Rewriting the Covid-19 Story. By Mara Hvistendahl and Benjamin Mueller. April 23, 2023.

The Washington Post. China’s struggles with lab safety carry danger of another pandemic. By Joby Warrick and David Willman. April 12, 2023.

USA Today. Lab-created bird flu virus accident shows lax oversight of risky ‘gain of function’ research. By Alison Young. April 11, 2023.

The Washington Post. Research with exotic viruses risks a deadly outbreak, scientists warn. By David Willman and Joby Warrick. April 10, 2023.

Science. Share all SARS-CoV-2 data immediately. By Maria D. Van Kerkhove. April 6, 2023.

Nature. Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 at the Huanan Seafood Market. William Liu et al. April 5, 2023.

World Health Organization, Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO). SAGO statement on newly released SARS-CoV-2 metagenomics data from China CDC on GISAID. March 18, 2023.

The New York Times. New Data Links Pandemic’s Origins to Raccoon Dogs at Wuhan Market. By Benjamin Mueller. March 16, 2023.

The Washington Post. Opinion: Available evidence still points to covid originating from spillover. By Angela Rasmussen and Saskia Popescu. March 7, 2023.

The Free Press. Is Gain-of-Function Research a ‘Risk Worth Taking’? Or ‘Insanity’?. By David Zweig. March 7, 2023.

U.S. House of Representatives, Select Subcommittee on Coronavirus Pandemic, majority staff. Memorandum: New Evidence Resulting from the Select Subcommittee’s Investigation into the Origins of COVID-19 – “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2“. March 5, 2023.

Wall Street Journal. FBI Director Says Covid Pandemic Likely Caused by Chinese Lab Leak: Christopher Wray provides first public confirmation of bureau’s classified assessment of suspected laboratory incident. By Michael R. Gordon and Warren P. Strobel. February 28, 2023

Wall Street Journal. Lab Leak Most Likely Origin of Covid-19 Pandemic, Energy Department Now Says; U.S. agency’s revised assessment is based on new intelligence. By Michael R. Gordon and Warren P. Strobel. February 26, 2023

The Hill. To prevent a deadlier pandemic, pause gain of function research. By Marc Siegel and Robert Redfield. February 2, 2023.

The Intercept. Unredacted NIH Emails Show Efforts to Rule Out Lab Origin of Covid. By Jimmy Tobias. January 19, 2023.

U.S. Government Accountability Office. HHS Could Improve Oversight of Research Involving Enhanced Potential Pandemic Pathogens. January 18, 2022.

Washington Post. Wuhan’s early covid cases are a mystery. What is China hiding? November 17, 2022.

New York Times. A Plea for Making Virus Research Safer. By Jesse Bloom. October 30, 2022.

Vanity Fair and ProPublica. COVID-19 Origins: Investigating a “Complex and Grave Situation” Inside a Wuhan Lab. By Katherine Eban and Jeff Kao. October 28, 2022. See also: Editor’s Note: A Review of Criticisms of a ProPublica-Vanity Fair Story on a COVID Origins Report. By Stephen Engleberg. November 30, 2022.

U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, minority oversight staff. An Analysis of the Origins of the Covid-19 Pandemic: interim report. October 28, 2022.


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