Seeking more answers on how the coronavirus began

A group of 18 scientists called for a “proper investigation” into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, and the possibility that a laboratory incident triggered the global health crisis, in a recent letter in the journal Science.

Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, was one of the experts who signed the letter.

“There just aren’t any answers yet, one way or another, about how the coronavirus that’s now ravaging the world began,” he said in a May 16, 2021, interview on WBUR. “And we are not taking the position that this evidence is stronger in favor of one or another hypothesis. … The existing evidence has not ruled out a laboratory origin, nor has it ruled out a natural origin.”

A joint investigation into the virus’ origins by the World Health Organization and China,  released in March, found that it was “extremely unlikely” that the virus leaked from a lab, but the 18 scientists thought that the investigation didn’t go far enough.

Lipsitch acknowledged that the issue of where the coronavirus started has become politicized. “I think that’s unfortunate,” he said, adding that “as scientists, our goal should be … to try to say that this has political implications, but it’s a question of fact. It may be an answerable question of fact or it may not be answerable, but we should try to answer it. And the answer should not be governed by what we want to hear or what we wish was true, but by where the facts point.”

Listen to or read the WBUR article: Why A Group Of Scientists Are Calling For An Investigation Into Origin Of Pandemic