Some hypothesize that the virus originated from a lab, a theory known as the “lab-leak hypothesis,” while others suggest that it emerged naturally from wildlife.
Here are several individuals who, as of September 2021, have contributed to discussions about the potential for a lab leak as the origin of the COVID-19 virus. Note that inclusion in this list does not indicate endorsement of the lab leak theory; these individuals have diverse views and have contributed to the discussion in different ways:
- Dr. Robert Redfield – The former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who stated in a CNN documentary that he believes the lab-leak theory is the most likely scenario.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci – Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and chief medical advisor to the president, who has expressed that while a zoonotic origin is most likely, further investigation into the lab leak theory is warranted.
- Nicholas Wade – A science writer who has written extensively about the lab-leak theory.
- Jamie Metzl – A WHO advisor and member of the WHO expert advisory committee on human genome editing who has called for a more thorough investigation into the lab leak theory.
- Dr. Richard Ebright – A molecular biologist who has been critical of gain-of-function research and has called for further investigation into the lab leak theory.
- Alina Chan – A molecular biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard who has called for further investigation into the lab leak theory.
- Dr. Shi Zhengli – A virologist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, known for her research on bat coronaviruses, who has denied the lab leak theory.
- Peter Daszak – President of EcoHealth Alliance, which has collaborated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He was part of the WHO team investigating the origins of the virus and has defended the natural origin theory while dismissing the lab leak theory.
- Dr. Kristian Andersen – A virologist who has published work supporting the natural origin theory but has also called for further investigation into the lab leak theory.
- David Relman – A microbiologist who has called for a deeper investigation into the origins of the virus.
- Yuri Deigin – A biotech entrepreneur and longevity researcher who has written extensively about the possibility of a lab leak.
- Dr. Filippa Lentzos – A biosecurity and biosafety researcher who has advocated for a more thorough investigation of the lab leak theory.
- Dr. Ralph Baric – A virologist who has collaborated with Shi Zhengli on research related to coronaviruses. His work has been cited in discussions of the lab leak theory.
- Matt Ridley – A British journalist and author who has written about the possibility of a lab leak.
- Dr. Stanley Perlman – A professor of microbiology who has suggested that the lab leak theory, while possible, is less likely than a natural spillover event.
As the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is a topic of ongoing scientific investigation, views and hypotheses about it may continue to evolve. For the most accurate, up-to-date information, it’s best to refer to the latest publications from reputable sources and global health authorities.