The origin of the COVID-19 pandemic has not been established. The two viable hypotheses are that it emerged due to zoonotic spillover from wildlife or a farm animal (“zoonosis”) or that it emerged due to research-related spillover (“lab leak”).
The available scientific data–the sequence of the viral genome, properties of the virus, and epidemiology of disease–do not enable the assignment of probabilities to the natural or research-related origins hypotheses. However, other available data– including the existence of gain-of-function and enhanced pandemic potential pathogen research performed by EcoHealth Alliance with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the inadequate biosafety precautions used in their research, and their lack of transparency and cooperation with investigation–meet or exceed the standard of probable cause for investigation of research-related spillover.
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