A call for an independent inquiry into the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Since the identification of theSARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan, China, in January 2020 (1), the origin of the virus has been a topic of intense scientific debate and public speculation. The two main hypotheses are that the virus emerged from human exposure to an infected animal [“zoonosis” (2)] or that it emerged in a research-related incident (3). The investigation into the origin of the virus has been made difficult by the lack of key evidence from the earliest days of the outbreak—there’s no doubt that greater transparency on the part of Chinese authorities would be enormously helpful. Nevertheless, we argue here that there is much important information that can be gleaned from US-based research institutions, information not yet made available for independent, transparent, and scientific scrutiny.

The data available within the United States would explicitly include, but are not limited to, viral sequences gathered and held as part of the PREDICT project and other funded programs, as well as sequencing data and laboratory notebooks from US laboratories. We call on US government scientific agencies, most notably the NIH, to support a full, independent, and transparent investigation of the origins of SARS-CoV-2. This should take place, for example, within a tightly focused science-based bipartisan Congressional inquiry with full investigative powers, which would be able to ask important questions—but avoid misguided witch-hunts governed more by politics than by science.

The article's full-text is available here.

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