Key articles on the origins of Covid-19

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Here is a reading list of news articles, government reports, calls to action, and opinion pieces about the origins of SARS-CoV-2. 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

Covid origin theories – hints and key discussion points
Origins mysteries and cover-ups
U.S. funded high-risk virus research in Wuhan
Reports, open letters, calls to action

Covid origin theories – hints, key discussion points

The Wall Street Journal. Where Did Covid Come From? [Commentary] By Nicholas Wade. February 28, 2024.

City Journal. The Story of the Decade – New documents strengthen—perhaps conclusively—the lab-leak hypothesis of Covid-19’s origins. By Nicholas Wade. January 25, 2024.

The Wall Street Journal. U.S.-Funded Scientist Among Three Chinese Researchers Who Fell Ill Amid Early Covid-19 Outbreak. By Michael R. Gordon and Warren P. Strobel. June 20, 2023.

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

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

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

Science. Evidence suggests pandemic came from nature, not a lab, panel says. By Jon Cohen. October 10, 2022.

Associated Press. WHO: COVID origins unclear but lab leak theory needs study. By Maria Cheng and Jamey Keaten. June 9, 2022.

Project Syndicate. Did US Biotechnology Help to Create COVID-19? By Neil L. Harrison and Jeffrey D. Sachs. May 27, 2022.

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

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

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

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

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

Wall Street Journal. Science Closes In on Covid’s Origins. 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. Jon Cohen. September 29, 2021.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Origins mysteries and cover-ups

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

U.S. funded high-risk virus research in Wuhan

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

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

The Intercept. Leaked Grant Proposal Details High-Risk Coronavirus Research. Sharon Lerner and Maia Hibbett. September 23, 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. New Details Emerge About Coronavirus Research at Chinese Lab.Sharon Lerner and Mara Hvistendahl. September 6, 2021.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reports, open letters, calls to action

Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Potential Links Between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Origin of the COVID-19 Pandemic. June 23, 2023.

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

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.

United States House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Unclassified Summary of the Second Interim Report on the Origins of the COVID-19 Pandemic. December 14, 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.

The Lancet Commission on lessons for the future from the COVID-19 pandemic. By Jeffrey Sachs et al. September 14, 2022.

World Health Organization, Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO). Preliminary Report of the SAGO. June 9, 2022.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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


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