June 14, 2022

Below is the latest version of our timeline on the origins of COVID-19, originally released on August 4, 2021, and then updated on September 16, 2021.

This version includes references to numerous documents uncovered in freedom of information act (FOIA) requests and reporting by The Intercept, U.S. Right to Know and The DisInformation Chronicle. Tweets highlighting pertinent information by members of DRASTIC also pointed to new information.

This timeline is intended to be comprehensive, yet short enough to be useful and not overwhelming to researchers, policy makers, and reporters. Additional edits, corrections, and additions are still welcome.

Empower Oversight sent a FOIA request to NIH regarding requests by Chinese researchers to remove COVID-19 sequences from a U.S. database. If you have any inside information to assist with this effort, please contact Empower Oversight at

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1977: The first SARS viruses leaked from labs several times — including at least twice from the National Institute of Virology in Beijing.

“A 1977 outbreak of H1N1 in the Soviet Union and China is believed to have been caused by Soviet scientists experimenting with a live virus in a lab.” (The Intercept, June 19, 2021)

“The most famous case of a released laboratory strain is the re-emergent H1N1 influenza  virus which was first observed in China in May of 1977 and in Russia shortly thereafter.” (PLOS One, June 17, 2010)

The H1N1 influenza pandemic of 1977-78 started in northeastern Asia and killed an estimated 700,000 people around the world. It mostly affected people in their twenties or younger. It was fairly identical to a strain from the 1950s, leading to the hypothesis that older people had immunity while younger people did not. (The New York Times, June 25, 2021).

Scientists think it had been frozen for years in a lab, and it actually was sensitive to temperature, which happens to viruses used in vaccine research (The New York Times, June 25, 2021). In 2004, virologist Peter Palese wrote that a virologist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences told him that “the introduction of this 1977 H1N1 virus” was thought to be caused by vaccine trials that involved “the challenge of several thousand military recruits with live H1N1 virus” (Nature Medicine, December 2004). “For the first time, science itself seemed to have caused a pandemic while trying to prepare for it.”  (The New York Times, June 25, 2021)

1979The Soviet Union lied about a lab accident with anthrax bacteria that killed dozens. (The New York Times, June 25, 2021The New York Times, June 20, 2021)

2003Coronaviruses, first described in 1965, were the cause of the SARS outbreak in 2003. (Medpage Today, June 2021).

In April 2003, a Chinese doctor accused the government of hiding the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that shutdown a Beijing hospital when medical staff became infected. (The Guardian, April 2003). Months later, scientists found the coronavirus reservoir in animals sold in Chinese markets. (MMWR, Oct 17, 2003). The outbreak was contained by the summer, but not before infecting over 8,000 people and killing 774. (CDC SARS Response).

October 2004: World Health Organization SARS Risk Assessment and Preparedness Framework (World Health Organization, October 2004

Since July 2003, SARS has reappeared four times. Three of these incidents (Singapore, Taipei and Beijing) were “attributed to breaches in laboratory biosafety and resulted in one or more cases of SARS.”

February 2005: Two professors publish an essay that warns against expansion of bioweapons labs. (Boston Globe, February 23, 2005)

“The Pentagon has stated that its goal is to develop genetically engineered biological weapons in order to discover defenses against them. These inevitably will have offensive capabilities.” In 1969, President Nixon renounced biological weapons and scrapped the US research program on the grounds that “mankind already carries in its hands too many of the seeds of its own destruction.” Six years later the Biological Weapons Convention was passed.

September 2009: House Hearing: FEDERAL OVERSIGHT OF HIGH-CONTAINMENT BIOLABORATORIES (House Hearing Transcript, September 22, 2009)

House Hearing Transcript, September 22, 2009

“Unfortunately, what is clear is that the Federal policy on biosafety and security remains basically unchanged from what it was when we had our hearing 2 years ago.” Government Accountability Office: “High-Containment Laboratories: National Strategy for Oversight Is Needed” (GAO, September 21, 2009)

June 2010: PLOS One publishes “The Re-Emergence of H1N1 Influenza Virus in 1977: A Cautionary Tale for Estimating Divergence Times Using Biologically Unrealistic Sampling Dates.” (PLOS ONE, June 2010)

The report says, “genetic analysis indicated that this strain was missing decades of nucleotide sequence evolution, suggesting an accidental release of a frozen laboratory strain into the general population.” (PLOS ONE, June 2010)

2011: Virologists under fire for experimenting

Virologists Ron Fouchier and Yoshihiro Kawaoka are criticized for studies involving a potentially airborne version of H5N1, an avian influenza. News of the experiments leaked before they published their results. (The Intercept, June 19, 2021) (The New York Times, December 26, 2011) “It is a nightmare scenario: a human pandemic caused by the accidental release of a man-made form of the lethal avian influenza virus H5N1. Yet the risk is all too real.” The research was performed at labs rated “biosafety level 3” (BSL-3). (Nature, December 20, 2011)

January 2012: “Caution urged for mutant flu work.” Scientists question whether the public -health benefits outweigh the risks of a potential pandemic if the virus escaped from the lab. In a statement jointly published in Nature and Science, 39 flu researchers declared a 60-day pause in the creation of lab mutant strains of the H5N1 avian flu virus. (Nature, January 25, 2012)

Anthony Fauci: “The degree of polarization in the scientific community is unprecedented, and that has motivated me to push very, very hard for transparent, open discussion of these issues. We need to get people in the same room discussing the pros and cons rather than having duelling soundbites.” (Nature, January 25, 2012)

February 2012: The potential for mutant-flu research to improve public health any time soon has been exaggerated. Timely production of sufficient vaccine remains the biggest challenge. (Nature, February 9, 2012)

World Health Organization convenes meeting that says flu research should be published. (Nature, February 17, 2012) Experts attending the meeting were overwhelmingly academic flu researchers, almost all of whom are strongly in favor of such research, and many of whom would like to see it proceed unfettered, and almost no public-health officials nor experts in risk assessment, biosafety, or biosecurity.

April 2012: Royal Society holds two-day meeting on flu research with scientists, research funders and experts in security, bioethics and foreign policy. Arthur Caplan says that to expect that all research will be done carefully every­where is “utter malarkey.” (Nature, April 10, 2012)

June 2012: Coronaviruses cause the MERS outbreak in 2012 (Medpage Today, June 13, 2021)

October 2012: Research on Highly Pathogenic H5N1 Influenza Virus: The Way Forward, by Anthony Fauci (mBio, October 9, 2012)

“We cannot expect those who have these concerns to simply take us, the scientific community, at our word that the benefits of this work outweigh the risks, nor can we ignore their calls for greater transparency, their concerns about conflicts of interest, and their efforts to engage in a dialog about whether these experiments should have been performed in the first place. Those of us in the scientific community who believe in the merits of this work have the responsibility to address these concerns thoughtfully and respectfully.”

January 2013: After one year, moratorium on flu research ends, although research community remains divided. (Nature, January 23, 2013)

February 2013: Avian flu virus emerges.

An 87-year-old man and his two sons went to the hospital with a fever and other symptoms. (The Intercept, June 19, 2021) After the man dies, an anonymous Chinese social media user speculates about the strange circumstances surrounding his death. Censors swiftly deleted the post. (South China Morning Post, April 10, 2013) Chinese officials later notify the World Health Organization of a new avian flu virus called H7N9.

May 2013: Chinese researchers at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute publish a paper in Science on a gain-of-function experiment with guinea pigs. (Science, May 2, 2013)

Gain-of-function research involves genetically altering an organism, in this case, creating new viruses. “It had involved swapping gene segments from H5N1 with those from the H1N1 swine virus, then infecting guinea pigs with the hybrid viruses. Her team found that they could get the virus to leap from one animal to another by switching out a single gene. The guinea pigs stood in for humans. Ron Fouchier, of Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, said that he had dreamed of doing exactly the same experiment as Chen but couldn’t because of various constraints." (The Intercept, June 19, 2021)

February 2014: Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation publishes “Laboratory Escapes and ‘Self-fulfilling prophecy Epidemics’” (Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, February 17, 2014)

This paper presents an historical review of outbreaks of transmissible pathogens that occurred from presumably well-funded and supervised nationally supported laboratories.

June 2014: Scientists condemn “crazy, dangerous” creation of deadly airborne flu virus. (The Guardian, June 11, 2014)

"The work they are doing is absolutely crazy. The whole thing is exceedingly dangerous," said Lord May, the former president of the Royal Society and one time chief science adviser to the UK government. "Yes, there is a danger, but it's not arising from the viruses out there in the animals, it's arising from the labs of grossly ambitious people." Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said he feared that governments and funding bodies would only take the risks seriously once an accident had happened. "It's madness, folly. It shows profound lack of respect for the collective decision-making process we've always shown in fighting infections. If society, the intelligent layperson, understood what was going on, they would say 'What the F are you doing?'"

July 2014: An accident with anthrax demonstrates that pathogen research always carries a risk of release — and highlights the need for rigorous scrutiny of gain-of-function flu studies. (Nature, July 4, 2014) NIH catches U of Wisconsin researcher not accurately assessing risk of flu virus research. (Nature, July 1, 2014)

The Cambridge Working Group releases their Consensus Statement on the Creation of Potential Pandemic Pathogens. (Cambridge Working Group, July 14, 2014) “Experiments involving the creation of potential pandemic pathogens should be curtailed until there has been a quantitative, objective and credible assessment of the risks, potential benefits, and opportunities for risk mitigation, as well as comparison against safer experimental approaches.”

October 2014: U.S. Moratorium on gain-of-function research (The Scientist, October 2014)

U.S. officials announce an unprecedented pause on funding for 18 gain-of-function studies involving influenza, or the Middle East respiratory syndrome, or severe acute respiratory syndrome viruses. (Science, October 2014). Around half were later allowed to continue, because they did not fit the definition of gain-of-function or were deemed essential to public health. (Science, February 2019). Statement from the National Institutes of Health on funding pause of certain types of gain-of-function research (NIH, October 16, 2014) Health and Human Services Statement on Pause. (HHS, October 17, 2014)

April 2015: China’s Biological Warfare Programme: An Integrative Study with Special Reference to Biological Weapons Capabilities (Journal of Defence Studies, Vol. 9, No. 2, April–June 2015, pp. 131–156)

May 2015: “10 incidents discovered at the nation's biolabs” (USA Today, April 29, 2015) “Records obtained by the USA TODAY Network show hundreds of incidents have occurred in labs across the country in recent years. Here are a few examples of how things can go wrong.”

November 2015: SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence. (Nature, November 9, 2015)

Researchers from two of the major coronavirus laboratories in the world, including Dr. Shi Zhengli of Wuhan and Ralph Baric of  the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote that they had bioengineered a coronavirus. (Nature Medicine, November 9, 2015).

The work was carried out in Dr. Baric’s laboratory at U.N.C. They took a spike protein, the “key” that coronaviruses use to unlock and infect cells, from a horseshoe bat virus. They combined that spike protein with a human SARS virus adapted for mice. (The New York Times, June 25, 2021).

This “chimeric” virus could infect human cells, suggesting some bat viruses may be “capable of infecting humans without mutation or adaptation.” This was Dr. Shi’s second experiment since 2013 with a SARS-like bat coronavirus being able to directly infect human airway cells. (The New York Times, June 25, 2021).

July 2016: Chinese lab engineers different SARS viruses (Journal of Virology, July 15, 2016)

After receiving an NIH grant, Peter Daszak, President of EcoHealth Alliance, and Dr. Shi Zhengli of Wuhan published a paper reporting how, at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), they had engineered different versions of coronaviruses and tested their infectiousness in human cells.

“The paper announced that the WIV had developed its own reverse-genetics system, following the Americans’ lead. It also included a troubling detail: the work, which was funded in part by the NIH grant, had been done in a BSL-2 lab. That meant the same viruses that Daszak was holding up as a clear and present danger to the world were being studied under conditions that, according to Richard Ebright, matched ‘the biosafety level of a US dentist’s office’.”(MIT Technology Review, June 29, 2021)

February 2017: Concerns raised about biosafety and the opening of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. (Nature, February 23, 2017). 

2017Debate over lab safety levels. 

Daszak and Dr. Shi published another study, also researched at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).“

The WIV had continued to unearth dozens of new SARS-like coronaviruses in bat caves, and it reported making chimeras with eight of them by fusing the spikes of the new viruses to the chassis of WIV1. Two of them replicated well in human cells. They were, for all intents and purposes, brand-new pathogens. In an email to MIT Technology Review, Shi said she followed Chinese rules that are similar to US. Safety requirements and are based on what virus you are studying. Since bat viruses like WIV1 haven’t been confirmed to cause disease in human beings, her biosafety committee recommended BSL-2 for engineering and testing them but BSL-3 for any animal experiments. Regarding the decision to do the research in BSL-2 conditions, Peter Daszak forwarded a statement from EcoHealth Alliance stating that the organization “must follow the local laws of the countries in which we work’ and that the NIH had determined the research was ‘not gain-of-function.’” (MIT Technology Review, June 29, 2021)

December 2017: Ban on gain-of-function research reversed.

Based on a report by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity that government-funded gain-of-function research was seldom a risk to public safety, the ban was repealed (Nature, December 19, 2017). Two National Academy of Sciences workshops, recommendations from a federal advisory board, and a new U.S. policy for evaluating proposed studies involving “enhanced potential pandemic pathogens” (known as ePPPs). NIH invited new gain-of-function proposals that would be reviewed by a committee with wide-ranging expertise drawn from the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies.

Ron Fouchier’s proposed projects are part of a contract led by virologists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City (Science, February 8, 2019).

February 2018: Peter Daszak announces The Global Virome Project (Science, February 23, 2018) “We describe a Global Virome Project (GVP) aimed to launch in 2018 that will help identify the bulk of this viral threat and provide timely data for public health interventions against future pandemics.”

Unknown Date 2018: Health and Human Services says they reviewed two gain-of-function projects referred for review in 2018 under the Health and Human Services (HHS) Framework for Guiding Funding Decisions about Proposed Research Involving Enhanced Potential Pandemic Pathogens (HHS P3CO Framework) (Health and Human Services, unknown date in 2018) Both projects were approved as acceptable.

June 2018The Harbin Veterinary Research Institute moved to a new campus with a BSL-4 laboratory, the highest biosafety level.

The other BSL-4 lab in China is the Wuhan Institute of Virology (The Intercept, June 19, 2021).

January 2019: WORLDWIDE THREAT ASSESSMENT OF THE U.S. INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY, report to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. 

“We assess that China’s intelligence services will exploit the openness of American society, especially academia and the scientific community, using a variety of means.” (Director of National Intelligence, January 29, 2019)

February 2019: U.S. Government approves controversial experiments.

From Science Magazine: “Last year, a U.S. government review panel quietly approved experiments proposed by two labs that were previously considered so dangerous that federal officials had imposed an unusual top-down moratorium on such research. One of the projects has already received funding from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and will start in a few weeks; the other is awaiting funding. “After a deliberative process that cost $1 million for [a consultant’s] external study and consumed countless weeks and months of time for many scientists, we are now being asked to trust a completely opaque process where the outcome is to permit the continuation of dangerous experiments,” says Harvard University epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch.” (Science, February 8, 2019)

Lipsitch also wrote in the Washington Post: “In the past year, the U.S. government quietly greenlighted funding for two groups of researchers, one in the United States and the other in the Netherlands, to conduct transmission-enhancing experiments on the bird flu virus as they were originally proposed before the moratorium. Despite the potential public-health consequences of such work, neither the approval nor the deliberations or judgments that supported it were announced publicly. The government confirmed them only when a reporter learned about them through non-official channels. A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Human Services told Science magazine that the agency cannot make the reviews public because doing so might reveal proprietary information about the applicants’ plans that could help their competitors. This bureaucratic logic implies that it is more important to maintain the trade secrets of a few prominent scientists than to let citizens — who bear the risk if an accident happens and who fund their work — scrutinize the decisions of public officials about whether these studies are worth the risk." (The Washington Post, February 27, 2019)

Human error is the main cause of potential exposures of lab workers to pathogens. Statistical data from two sources show that human error was the cause of, according to my research, 67 percent and 79.3 percent of incidents leading to potential exposures in BSL3 labs. There were 128 BSL3 and BSL4 incident reports to the NIH Office of Science Policy from 2004 - 2017.There were no reported incidents from BSL4 as they must only report pathogens with recombinant DNA. Of the 128 incidents, 86 or 67.2 percent were due to human error. (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, February 25, 2019)

March 2019: NIH Director Francis Collins releases statement from the National Institutes of Health “NIH commitment to transparency on research involving potential pandemic pathogens” (National Institutes of Health, March 5, 2019)

July 2019: Defense officials say China is a leading threat on bio weapons (National Defense, July 23, 2019)

August 2019: Defense officials warn that China is the is the world leader in toxin-based biothreats. (National Defense, August 2, 2019

Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigate Chinese scientists who shipped level 4 pathogens (Ebola and Henipah viruses) from National Microbiology Lab to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. (CBC, August 2, 2019)  "We have a researcher who was removed by the RCMP from the highest security laboratory that Canada has for reasons that government is unwilling to disclose,” said Amir Attaran, a law professor and epidemiologist at the University of Ottawa. “The intelligence remains secret. But what we know is that before she was removed, she sent one of the deadliest viruses on Earth, and multiple varieties of it to maximize the genetic diversity and maximize what experimenters in China could do with it, to a laboratory in China that does dangerous gain of function experiments. And that has links to the Chinese military." (CBC, June 14, 2020)

September 2019Weeks before the pandemic began, the head of Wellcome Trust, Jeremy Farrar, and Anthony Fauci help oversee a World Health Organization report that highlighted an “increasing risk of global pandemic from a pathogen escaping after being engineered in a lab.” (World Health Organization, September 2019) (Daily Mail, June 15, 2012)

Wuhan Institute of Virology genomic database goes offline.

A genomic database maintained by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, with information about thousands of bat samples and at least 500 recently discovered bat coronaviruses, goes offline. This is uncovered by the Internet sleuths that linked RaTG13 to the Chinese mine report in February 2021. (DRASTIC Preprint)

October 2019: The Military World Games held in Wuhan, China, appears to have been a vector for spreading disease in the U.S. and around the world. (The American Prospect, June 30, 2020)

November 2019: Three researchers from Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence document (The Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2021)

The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases announced that it would restart its operations on a limited scale, after the Centers for Disease and Control halting its high-level research, when two high-level breaches occurred. (The Frederick News Post, November 23, 2019)

British man living in Wuhan, China catches COVID-19. (Daily Mail, March 4, 2020)

December 30, 2019: Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at a hospital in Wuhan, sent colleagues a text about a virus, and is summoned to a police station and forced to sign a document for spreading rumors. Wuhan later institutes a lockdown and Li later dies from the virus. (iNews, February 6, 2020; iNews, February 6, 2020)

December 31, 2019: China notifies WHO of “cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology” in Wuhan City. (World Health Organization, January 5, 2020)


January 3: Agence France Press reported that police from Wuhan, “had punished eight people for ‘publishing or forwarding false information on the internet without verification.’” Coronavirus had killed at least 17 people and arrived in the United States this week. (Poynter, January 23, 2020)

January 22: The New York Times reports, “China Silences Critics Over Deadly Virus Outbreak Beijing has responded faster to the new threat than it did with SARS, but it still silences and punishes those who veer from the official line, with potentially damaging consequences.” (The New York Times, January 22, 2020)

January 26: Wuhan seafood market may not be source of novel virus spreading globally. (Science, January 26, 2020)

January 27: Facebook, Google, and Twitter begin dealing with COVID-19 misinformation. Seven organizations that partner with Facebook issued nine fact checks, and Facebook labeled the inaccuracies and lowered their rank in users’ daily feeds. (The Washington Post, January 27, 2020)

February 6: Wuhan researchers speak out.

Commentary from Chinese researchers based in Wuhan that argued “the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan” posted and later removed from ResearchGate (User account “Botao Xiao” also deleted.). (ZeroHedge, uploaded to Scribd, February 2020)

February 19: Scientists condemn lab leak theory.

Open letter in The Lancet by 27 scientists, including Peter Daszak and Jeremy Farrar who “strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.” (The Lancet, February 19, 2020)

Daszak states, “We’re in the midst of the social media misinformation age, and these rumors and conspiracy theories have real consequences, including threats of violence that have occurred to our colleagues in China.” (Science, February 19, 2020)

February 22: Social media censoring of lab leak theory posts begins.

New York Post publishes an article by a Chinese scholar arguing “coronavirus may have leaked from a lab” is subsequently censored by Facebook. (New York Post, February 22, 2020) February 26: Prominent virologists publish a commentary that claims “no credible evidence” COVID-19 started due lab engineering. (Emerging Microbes & Infections, February 26, 2020) Emails released by U.S. Right to Know later reveal that the editorial was submitted on February 12 and then peer reviewed and accepted the next day. (Email February 12, 2020; US Right to Know, August 11, 2021) One reviewer wrote, “This is a timely commentary. It is perfectly written. All four authors are well established virologists. I suggest to publish it right away.” (Email, February 13, 2020) However, the virologists later admitted that they could not “rule out the possibility” of a lab leak. (Email, February 16, 2020; US Right to Know, August 11, 2021) The researcher also discuss that “rumor says that furin site may be engineered.” (Email, February 21, 2020) Although this is not disclosed in the commentary, the journal had it reviewed by Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. (Email, February 16, 2020)

Early 2020 (exact date unknown): State Department sends a memo that a lab accident is the most likely cause of the pandemic. (U.S. Right to Know, March 28, 2022)

The memo is written as a BLUF – “bottom line up front” – a style of communication used in the military. “The most logical place to investigate the virus origin has been completely sealed off from the outside inquiry by the [Chinese Community Party]. A gag order to both places was issued on 1/01/2020, and a Major General from the [People’s Liberation Army] took over the [Wuhan Institute of Virology] since early Jan. Of the five possible theories [for how the pandemic began] the WCDC and the WIV are most likely yet least investigated. All other proposed theories are likely to be a decoy to prevent inquiry WCDC and WIV.” (U.S. Right to Know, March 24, 2022)

March 6: Paper published that states “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.” (Nature Medicine, March 17, 2020)

In emails obtained by a Buzzfeed FOIA, one of the paper’s author’s, Kristian Andersen, thanks Jeremy Farrar (Wellcome Trust), Anthony Fauci (US NIH), and Francis Collins (US NIH) “for your advice and leadership as we have been working through the SARS-CoV-2 ‘origins’ paper.” (Buzzfeed FOIA, March 8, 2020)

March 11: Scientific American publishes a profile of Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Shi Zhengli. In the article, Zhengli says that miners in a Mojang mine died from a fungus. (Scientific American, March 11, 2020) Based on Chinese documents, researchers in India later conclude that Zhengli lied, and the miners actually died of coronavirus- like respiratory illness. (Frontiers in Public Health, October 20, 2020

March 18: Axios publishes, “Timeline: The early days of China's coronavirus outbreak and cover-up” (Axios, March 18, 2020)

April (exact date unknown): James Le Duc with the Galveston National Laboratory asks researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology to edit a briefing he was preparing for congressional staff. (U.S. Right to Know, April 5, 2022)

“I certainly do not want to compromise you or your research activities,” Le Duc wrote to Shi Zhengli. The House Foreign Affairs Committee had asked Le Duc for input on the pandemic. “Given the long history of collaborations between the GNL and the WIV, I have been approached repeatedly for details on our work,” Le Duc wrote to colleagues at the WIV. “Attached is a draft summary that I will be providing to leadership of our University of Texas system and likely to Congressional committees that are being formed now.” (U.S. Right to Know, April 5, 2022) (U.S. Right to Know, April 5, 2022)

That same month, Le Duc told Science Magazine that Shi Zhengli was being unfairly scrutinized. (Science Magazine, April 30, 2020)” (Science Magazine, April 30, 2020)

April 15: China knew the coronavirus could become a pandemic in mid-January but for 6 days claimed that there was no evidence it could spread among humans. The Associated Press obtained a damning memo of a January 14 call that warned top officials about human-to-human transmission and said to prepare for a pandemic. Memo substantiates President Donald Trump's accusations that WHO failed to vet China's data. (Insider, April 15, 2020)

April 17: NY Post Editorial Board: “Facebook’s ‘fact checkers’ are the real fake news after censoring Post story.” (New York Post, April 17, 2020)

April 23: Texas scientist raises concerns about Wuhan Institute of Virology safety.

A University of Texas Medical Branch scientist, who visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology, acknowledges safety risks at Chinese lab doing coronavirus research. Le Duc is never quoted by any science writers in the coming months. (Houston Chronicle, April 23, 2020)

April 24: NIH cuts funding to EcoHealth Alliance. (Ars Technica, May 12, 2020)

Donald Trump ordered the NIH to cancel a five-year, $3.7 million grant for EcoHealth Alliance’s bat virus research. (NPR, April 29, 2020). According to Daszak, about 70% of the group’s annual $12 million budget continues to come from the U.S. government. (Kaiser Health News, May 19, 2021)

April 28: Three former U.S. intelligence agents say that the virus emerged from nature or escaped from a Chinese lab. (Foreign Policy, April 28, 2020)

Newsweek: “Dr. Fauci Backed Controversial Wuhan Lab with U.S. Dollars for Risky Coronavirus Research.” (Newsweek, April 28, 2020)

“In 2019, with the backing of NIAID, the National Institutes of Health committed $3.7 million over six years for research that included some gain-of-function work. The program followed another $3.7 million, 5-year project for collecting and studying bat coronaviruses, which ended in 2019, bringing the total to $7.4 million. A second phase of the project, beginning that year, included additional surveillance work but also gain-of-function research for the purpose of understanding how bat coronaviruses could mutate to attack humans.” (Newsweek, April 28, 2020) (Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence, NIH Project Number 2R01AI110964-06)

“The project was run by EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit research group, under the direction of President Peter Daszak, an expert on disease ecology. Three years later, though—in December 2017—the NIH ended the moratorium and the second phase of the NIAID project, which included the gain-of-function research, began. The NIH established a framework for determining how the research would go forward: scientists have to get approval from a panel of experts, who would decide whether the risks were justified.” (Newsweek, April 28, 2020)

April 30: The Wall Street Journal: “In Rare Move, U.S. Intelligence Agencies Confirm Investigating if Coronavirus Emerge From Lab Accident” (The Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2020)

Science Magazine reports outrage that National Institutes of Health cancelled grant to EcoHealth Alliance. (Science, April 30, 2020)

May 19: Paper about combatting coronaviruses published.

“Nevertheless, speculation about accidental laboratory escape will likely persist, given the large collections of bat virome samples stored in labs in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the facility’s proximity to the early outbreak, and the operating procedures at the facility.” (Immunity, May 19, 2020)

May 21: The New York Times depicts Wuhan Institute of Virology as the victim of “conspiracy theories.” (The New York Times, May 21, 2020)

May 23: Australian researchers publish a preprint that says the COVID19 virus is “uniquely adapted to infect humans” and that origins of the virus could be natural or could have occurred in a laboratory. (Daily Mail, May 23, 2020)

May 24: Understanding the Origin of ‘BatCoVRaTG13’, a Virus Closest to SARS-CoV-2 (Preprints, May 24, 2020) SARS-CoV-2 is most related to RaTG13, a beta corona virus derived from bats by 96%. But RaTG13 is 100% similar to BtCoV/4991. Shi Zhengli reported that BtCoV/4991 came from bat faeces sampled in an abandoned mine from Mojiang.

May 27: Nature reports lab leak hypothesis as “coronavirus misinformation” and “false information.” (Nature, May 27, 2021)

June 8: The science magazine Undark reports that the lab leak is a conspiracy theory “that’s been broadly discredited.” (Undark, June 8, 2020)

July 8: NIH offers to reinstate an EcoHealth Alliance grant.

EcoHealth has to address NIH concerns, noting reports that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) “has been conducting research at its facilities in China that pose serious bio-safety concerns” for other countries. The letter added, “We have concerns that WIV has not satisfied safety requirements under the award, and that EcoHealth Alliance has not satisfied its obligations to monitor the activities of its subrecipient…Moreover, as we have informed you through prior Notices of Award, this award is subject to the Transparency Act subaward and executive compensation reporting requirement of 2 C.F.R. Part 170. To date you have not reported any subawards in the Federal Subaward Reporting System” (NIH letter to Daszak re Grant R01AI110964, July 8, 2020)

June 9: Peter Daszak attacks former head of M16 over lab leak theory.

He writes a Guardian essay attacking former head of M16 for spreading the conspiracy that the “pandemic could have started as an accident.” The essay is later updated, “This article was amended on 11 June 2020 to make clear the writer’s past work with researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. A reference to a peer-reviewed paper has been clarified: a link previously led to a pre-press version; the final version is due for publication in the peer-reviewed Nature Communications.” (The Guardian, June 9, 2021)

July 4: The closest known relative to the COVID-19 virus is RaTG13 which was found in 2013 by Chinese scientists in a mine and was linked to deaths caused by a coronavirus-type respiratory illness. (The Times of London, July 4, 2020)

August 27: The National Institutes of Health awards $7.5 million grant to EcoHealth Alliance. The grant was in the process of evaluation when the NIH canceled another EcoHealth Alliance grant back in April. (STAT, August 27, 2020)

September 9: Boston Magazine explores lab leak theory.

“The world’s preeminent scientists say a theory from the Broad Institute’s Alina Chan is too wild to be believed. But when the theory is about the possibility of COVID being man-made, is this science or censorship?” (Boston Magazine, September 9, 2020)

September 14: Coronavirus researcher Ralph Baric says in an interview with Italian television on the origin of SARS-CoV-2, “You can engineer a virus without leaving any trace. However, the answers you are looking for can only be found in the archives of the Wuhan laboratory.” (HuffPost, September 14, 2020)

November 17: The genetic structure of SARS-CoV-2 does not rule out a laboratory origin: SARS-COV-2 chimeric structure and furin cleavage site might be the result of genetic manipulation. (BioEssays, November 17, 2020)

Shi Zhengli publishes a correction called an “addendum” to her Nature paper. She discloses that RaTG13 is 4991 and was collected from a Mojiang mine. (Nature, November 17, 2020)

November 18: US Right to Know releases emails showing that Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance orchestrated the February 2020 letter in The Lancet calling lab leak a “conspiracy.” (US Right to Know, November 18, 2020)

November 24: Opinion: To stop the next pandemic, we need to unravel the origins of COVID-19, by David Relman (PNAS, November 24, 2020)

“COVID-19 was first reported in December 2019 more than 1,000 miles away in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Beyond these facts, the ‘“origin story’” is missing many key details, including a plausible and suitably detailed recent evolutionary history of the virus, the identity and provenance of its most recent ancestors, and surprisingly, the place, time, and mechanism of transmission of the first human infection. Even though a definitive answer may not be forthcoming, and even though an objective analysis requires addressing some uncomfortable possibilities, it is crucial that we pursue this question. Preventing the next pandemic depends on understanding the origins of this one.” Relman continued, “A more complete understanding of the origins of COVID-19 clearly serves the interests of every person in every country on this planet.” (PNAS, November 24, 2020)

December 16: According to a search of government databases, the vast majority of EcoHealth Alliance funding comes from the Department of Defense, not the National Institutes of Health. (Independent Science News, December 16, 2020)

December 21: BBC journalists report trying to reach to visit the Mojiang mine area in China’s southwestern province of Yunnan, but Chinese police and security forces block them. (BBC, December 21, 2020)

December 30: AP investigation finds documents from March 2020 showing how Beijing has shaped and censored research into origins of SARS-CoV-2. (Associated Press, December 30, 2020)


January 9: Peter Daszak has funded research by Shi Zhengli at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and should not be part of a World Health Organization investigation of her lab because of this conflict of interest. (Daily Mail, January 9, 2021)

February 10: Facebook places a warning on an article by Ian Birrell about the origins of COVID-19. (UnHerd, February 10, 2021) Facebook says these warnings reduces article viewership by 95%. (UnHerd, May 31, 2021)

February 13: U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan expresses “deep concerns” about the WHO’s COVID-19 investigation, calling on China to be more transparent. (White House Statement: Statement by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, February 13, 2021)

March 4: Multiple researchers sign a public letter calling for an open investigation of the pandemic’s origin. (The New York Times, March 4, 2021)

March 6: The Washington Post calls for serious investigations of lab-leak hypothesis. (The Washington Post, March 6, 2021)

“However, a senior researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Shi Zhengli, was working on ‘gain of function’ experiments, which involve modifying viral genomes to give them new properties, including the ability to infect lung cells of laboratory mice that had been genetically modified to respond as human respiratory cells would. She was working with bat coronaviruses that were genetically very similar to the one that caused the pandemic. Could a worker have gotten infected or inadvertent leakage have touched off the outbreak in Wuhan?” (The Washington Post, March 6, 2021)

March 22: Reporter and journalism professor, Alison Young, writes an essay for USA Today. (USA Today, March 22, 2021)

“'Science, like journalism, is supposed to be about facts and about getting to the truth. But those who dare seek answers to reasonable questions about lab accidents and Wuhan are accused of peddling conspiracies.' Young added that journalists are not reporting and act with derision toward the idea of a lab escape."

March 25: Should we discount the laboratory origin of COVID-19? (Environmental Chemistry Letters, March 25, 2021)

“More than a year after the initial documented cases in Wuhan, the source of SARS-CoV-2 has yet to be identified, and the search for a direct or intermediate host in nature has been so far unsuccessful. While a natural origin is still possible and the search for a potential host in nature should continue, the amount of peculiar genetic features identified in SARS-CoV-2′s genome does not rule out a possible gain-of-function origin, which should be therefore discussed in an open scientific debate.”

March 26: Former CDC Director says he thinks the virus came from a lab in Wuhan. (Bloomberg, March 26, 2021)

"The most likely origin 'was from a laboratory -- you know, escaped,' said Redfield, who served during former President Donald Trump’s administration. 'Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out.'"

March 30: World Health Organization releases report on its investigation into the origins of COVID-19, listing the lab leak as the least likely of the possible scenarios considered. (Business Insider, March 30, 2021)

Hours before WHO Director-General Tedros acknowledged lab-leak hypothesis should “remain on the table” and called for a more extensive probe. (The Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2021)

The United States, Australia, Japan, Canada, UK and other governments express concern over the WHO investigation and called for “transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence.” (The Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2021)

May 5: David Baltimore discusses the furin cleavage sites in COVID-19 virus. Furin cleavages do not occur naturally in this virus and are signs of genetic engineering. Baltimore says, “When I first saw the furin cleavage site in the viral sequence, with its arginine codons, I said to my wife it was the smoking gun for the origin of the virus. These features make a powerful challenge to the idea of a natural origin for SARS2.” (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 5, 2021)

May 11: Senator Paul and Dr. Fauci spar over U.S. research funding.

Senator Rand Paul accuses Anthony Fauci of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of funding “supervirus” research in the US and “making a huge mistake” by giving this technology to China. (MIT Technology Review, June 2021)

Fauci denied the accusation: “The NIH has not ever, and does not now, fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” (MIT Technology Review, June 2021)

Technology Review reports, “The denial rests on the NIH’s specific definition of what was covered by the moratorium: work that would have deliberately enhanced SARS-like viruses, MERS, or flu by—for example—making them easier to spread through the air. The Chinese research did not have the specific goal of making the viruses more deadly, and rather than SARS itself, it used SARS’s close cousins, whose real-world risk to humans was unknown—in fact, determining the risk was the point of the research.” Technology Review reports that the  NIH “did not reply to questions. Citing a pending investigation, it has declined to release copies of the grant that sent the Wuhan institute about $600,000 between 2014 and 2019.” (MIT Technology Review, June 2021)

May 13: Scientists publish letter in the journal “Science Magazine criticizing World Health Organization report of pandemic’s origins and call for a deeper investigation. (The Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2021)

May 17: Former NYT Lead Health Reporter: “How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Lab-Leak Theory.” (Medium, May 17, 2021)

Former New York Times health reporter Donald G McNeil Jr. writes that editors killed a story he had written about the lab leak, because they thought scientists who said a lab leak was unlikely had more credibility.

May 19: Drumbeat on new investigation continues.

Kaiser Health News: “To the Bat Cave: In Search of Covid’s Origins, Scientists Reignite Polarizing Debate on Wuhan ‘Lab Leak’” KHN reports that Fauci said, “We at the NIH are very much in favor of a thorough investigation as to the origins of SARS-CoV-2.” (Kaiser Health News, May 19, 2021)

May 26: CNN reports that President Biden’s team shut down State Department inquiry into whether the pandemic started by a lab leak in China. (CNN, March 26, 2021)

That same day, Biden tells the intelligence community to report back in 90 days with their assessment of the lab leak theory. (President Biden Statement, May 26, 2021)

May 31: Twitter censors COVID-19 posts.

“One of the pioneers of mRNA technology – Luigi Warren’s Twitter account, has been suspended for now.” (India Today, May 31, 2021)

June 7Harvard epidemiologist and microbiologist Marc Lipsitch speaks at Brookings event titled “Why understanding the origin of COVID-19 is essential for policymakers: Discussing future regulations to prevent pandemics.” (Brookings Institute, June 7, 2021)

Lipsitch: “I’ve come to the view that we shouldn’t trust scientists more or less than we trust other people. We should trust science. And when scientists speak science, we should trust them, because we should recognize that they are speaking in a way that is based on evidence. When scientists express political views or policy preferences or even claims about how the world is that are not citing evidence, we should not give those scientists undue deference…They are people. We are people.” (The Intercept, June 19, 2021)

June 3: Vanity Fair: “The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins” (Vanity Fair, June 3, 2021)

“Throughout 2020, the notion that the novel coronavirus leaked from a lab was off-limits. Those who dared to push for transparency say toxic politics and hidden agendas kept us in the dark. David Asher, now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, ran the State Department’s day-to-day COVID-19 origins inquiry. He said it soon became clear that ‘there is a huge gain-of-function bureaucracy’ inside the federal government. In the words of David Feith, former deputy assistant secretary of state in the East Asia bureau, ‘The story of why parts of the U.S. government were not as curious as many of us think they should have been is a hugely important one’.” (Vanity Fair, June 3, 2021).”

June 8: The Wall Street Journal: “U.S. Report Found It Plausible Covid-19 Leaked From Wuhan Lab.” (The Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2021)

“People familiar with the study said that it was prepared by Lawrence Livermore’s ‘Z Division,’ which is its intelligence arm. One person who read the document, which is dated May 27, 2020, said it made a strong case for further inquiry into the possibility the virus seeped out of the lab. The study also had a major influence on the State Department’s probe into Covid-19’s origins. State Department officials received the study in late October 2020 and asked for more information, according to a timeline by the agency’s arms control and verification bureau, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal." (The Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2021)

June 8: Unherd: “Beijing’s useful idiots: Science journals have encouraged and enforced a false Covid narrative.” (Unherd, June 8, 2021)

“Springer Nature, which publishes Nature and Scientific American, has been blocking access to journals in China which offends the government. China has become a sponsor of journals published by Springer Nature and “one source estimated that 49 sponsorship agreements between Springer Nature and Chinese institutions were worth at least $10m last year.”

June 13: Medpage Today: “The Legal Stakes of a Lab Leak: China could be on the hook for a trillion dollars, but the U.S. isn’t blameless.” (Medpage Today, June 13, 2021)

“The highly ironically named ‘Operation Warp Speed’ told a false story that speedy vaccine development occurred because of super-human insight based on de novo hard work. Many scientists already knew this virus very well. Coronavirus gain-of-function research is another example of the insufferable hubris that infects morally careless scientists, and we are all the losers as a consequence.” (Medpage Today, June 13, 2021)

June 14: CNN reports that President Joe Biden’s administration was “assessing [a] reported leak at Chinese nuclear power facility.” (CNN, June 14, 2021)

July 15: World Health Organization says it will fix unintended errors from its joint report with China on the origins of COVID-19. The WHO also clarified that the first family cluster of infections in Wuhan had no exposure to the Huanan seafood market. (The Washington Post, July 15, 2021)

June 17: The Bulletin: “Essential reading on lab leaks and gain-of-function research” (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 17, 2021)

June 19: The National Pulse: “Google & USAID Funded Wuhan Collaborator Peter Daszak’s Virus Experiments For Over A Decade.” (The National Pulse, June 19, 2021)

“The unearthed financial ties between EcoHealth Alliance and Google follow months of big tech censorship of stories and individuals in support of the COVID-19 ‘lab leak’ theory. The decade-plus relationship is evident in a 2010 study on bat flaviviruses, which lists Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance Vice President Jonathan Epstein as authors, that thanks for funding. A 2014 study on henipavirus spillover, which was authored by Daszak, similarly declares it was partly ‘supported by’ And a 2015 paper focusing on herpes, which lists EcoHealth’s Daszak and Epstein as authors, reveals it was ‘supported by funding from the US Agency for International Development’s Emerging Pandemic Threats: PREDICT program, the Skoll Foundation, and’.”(The National Pulse, June 19, 2021)

June 20: NIH Director Francis Collins and Anthony Fauci host a weekend Zoom call to discuss deleted coronavirus sequences with Jesse Bloom. They also invite researcher Kristian Andersen. (Empower Oversight, March 29, 2022)

One expert tells Fauci that the deleted sequences suggest the pandemic began in a lab,. NIH misled reporters about their policy for deleting sequences, and guided reporters to favorable coverage. The NIH Director is found to review all FOIA releases. (Empower Oversight, March 29, 2022)

Vanity Fair later reports that Kristian Anders seems to have bullied Jesse Bloom. (Vanity Fair, March 31, 2022)

June 21: Galveston Lab’s James Le Duc sends a private email outlining the need to investigate Wuhan and how the pandemic began. He had previously stated publicly that Wuhan was being unfairly targeted. (US Right to Know, March 3, 2022)

June 23: PRINCIPLE: “Ivermectin to be investigated in adults aged 18+ as a possible treatment for COVID-19 in the PRINCIPLE trial.” (PRINCIPLE, June 23, 2021)

June 25: The New York Times Essay: “Where Did the Coronavirus Come From? What We Already Know Is Troubling.” (The New York Times, June 25, 2021)

“Nearly every SARS case since the original epidemic has been due to lab leaks — six incidents in three countries, including twice in a single month from a lab in Beijing. In one instance, the mother of a lab worker died. On Dec. 10, Peter Daszak insisted it was a conspiracy theory to suggest that there were live bats in labs he had collaborated with for 15 years. ‘That’s not how this science works,’ he wrote in a tweet he later deleted. ‘We collect bat samples, send them to the lab. We RELEASE bats where we catch them!’ (Peter Daszak Twitter, December 10, 2020) (Peter Daszak Twitter Archive, December 10, 2020)

But evidence to the contrary has accumulated. An assistant researcher told a reporter that Dr. Shi took on the role of feeding the bats when students were away. Another news report in 2018 said a team led by one of her doctoral trainees ‘collected a full rack of swabs and bagged a dozen live bats for further testing back at the lab.’ The Chinese Academy of Sciences website has listed the Wuhan institute as having at least a dozen cages for bats, and in 2018 the institute applied for a patent for a bat cage. Dr. Shi has talked about monitoring antibodies in bats over time — which would not be done in a cave. Recently, another video surfaced that reportedly showed live bats in the institute. Just a few weeks ago, Dr. Daszak changed his claims. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if,’ he said, ‘like many other virology labs, they were trying to set up a bat colony.’” (Peter Daszak Twitter, June 1, 2020) (The New York Times, June 25, 2021)

June 26: Wall Street Journal: “What We Know About the Origins of Covid-19.” (The Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2021)

  1. “A WHO-led inquiry into the origins of the virus was stymied from the start.
  2. “China withheld data on potential early cases and delayed sharing information on animals sold at a market where the first cluster was found.
  3. “The question of whether a lab accident was the cause of the pandemic remains unanswered. Other scientists sought more information about the WIV’s role in investigating a mysterious respiratory illness that afflicted six people clearing bat guano from a mine in southwest China in 2012. Three of them died, and samples the WIV took from bats in the mine were later found to contain the closest known virus on earth to the one that causes Covid-19
  4. “International pressure for a fuller inquiry into the origins of the virus grows.” (The Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2021)

June 27: The Wall Street Journal: “Biden Administration Warns Covid-19 Origins Review May Not Be Definitive.” (The Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2021)

“'There has not yet been a properly organized, independent, scientific evaluation of all of the available evidence,’ said Philip Zelikow, the former executive director of the commission on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Mr. Zelikow is heading a planning group, backed by prominent foundations, for a possible commission to investigate how Covid-19 emerged and how to better prepare for future pandemics” (The Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2021)

June 29: MIT Technology Review: “Inside the risky bat-virus engineering that links America to Wuhan.” (MIT Technology Review, June 29, 2021)

“In a potentially fateful decision, it funded work similar to Baric’s at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which soon used its own reverse-genetics technology to make numerous coronavirus chimeras. Unnoticed by most, however, was a key difference that significantly shifted the risk calculation. The Chinese work was carried out at biosafety level 2 (BSL-2), a much lower tier than Baric’s BSL-3+.” (MIT Technology Review, June 29, 2021)

June 29: NBC: “Wuhan lab researcher linked to military scientists, NBC News finds.” (NBC News, June 29, 2021)

June 30: The Wall Street Journal: “Search for Covid’s Origins Leads to China’s Wild Animal Farms—and a Big Problem.” (The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2021)

“WHO-led team wants an examination of farms that supplied the market where early cases emerged, but most animals are now gone.” (The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2021)

July 2: The Bulletin: “How to make sure the labs researching the most dangerous pathogens are safe and secure.” (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July 2, 2021)

July 4: POLITICO: “Virus lab leak theory dogs Democrats eager to keep focus on Trump’s Covid failings: Democrats worry that murky conclusions that don’t identify the origin of the virus could play into the Republicans’ hands.” (Politico, July 4, 2021)

“A Thursday House Appropriations markup of a 2022 spending bill turned rancorous when Republicans tried to withhold funding for the World Health Organization until more information is released about its role investigating a possible lab leak… A recent Morning Consult poll found that 70 percent of self-identified Republicans believe Covid originated in a lab, compared to just 32 percent of Democrats. Republicans also were twice as likely as Democrats to have heard about the ‘lab leak’ theory… (Morning Consult, June 9, 2021)

Senate health committee chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) andranking member Richard Burr (R-N.C.) have said their committee will launch its own inquiry into a swath of issues, including where Covid came from and how to boost vaccination rates in rural communities. A resolution from Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) calls on the WHO to conduct another investigation into the virus’ origins passed by unanimous consent in May. And Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have partnered on a bill that proposes setting up an independent 9/11-style commission to investigate Covid’s source as well as the Trump and Biden administration’s responses.” (Politico, July 4, 2021)

July 6: UnHerd: “Why won’t The Lancet admit it was wrong?” (UnHerd, July 6, 2021)

“The medical journal is doubling down on its rejection of the Wuhan Lab Leak hypothesis.” (UnHerd, July 6, 2021)

July 8: The BMJ: “The COVID-19 lab leak hypothesis: did the media fall victim to a misinformation campaign?” (BMJ, July 8, 2021)

“Scientists and reporters contacted by The BMJ say that objective consideration of COVID-19’s origins went awry early in the pandemic, as researchers who were funded to study viruses with pandemic potential launched a campaign labelling the lab leak hypothesis as a ‘conspiracy theory.’” (BMJ, July 8, 2021)

Fact checking sites such as PolitiFact and added editor’s notes to pieces that had “debunked” views that the virus was created in a lab or could have been bioengineered.

July 15: AP: “WHO chief says it was ‘premature’ to rule out COVID lab leak.” (Associated Press, July 15, 2021)

“Tedros told reporters that the U.N. health agency based in Geneva is ‘asking actually China to be transparent, open and cooperate, especially on the information, raw data that we asked for at the early days of the pandemic.’ He said there had been a ‘premature push’ to rule out the theory that the virus might have escaped from a Chinese government lab in Wuhan – undermining WHO’s own March report, which concluded that a laboratory leak was “extremely unlikely.’ ‘I was a lab technician myself, I’m an immunologist, and I have worked in the lab, and lab accidents happen,’ Tedros said. ‘It’s common.’” (Associated Press, July 15, 2021)

August 5: The National Institutes of Health must release internal documents they have kept from Congress and the media to understand how the pandemic started. (Newsweek, August 5, 2021)

August 13: UnHerd publishes “Science journals have been corrupted by China: Have researchers close to Beijing been compromised?" (UnHerd, August 13, 2021)

Article examines internal emails showing how virologists orchestrated a February 2020 commentary in Emerging Microbes & Infections that denigrated the idea that the pandemic started in a lab or was engineered. (U.S. Right to Know, August 11, 2021). Publisher Taylor & Francis refused to answer questions, and Reuters previously reported that the publisher pulled journals that offended the Chinese government. (Reuters, December 24, 2018)

August 22: U.K.’s Channel 4 releases a documentary “Did Covid Leak from a Lab in China?” that outlines the evidence of a lab leak. (iNews, August 21, 2021)

Documentary can be watched on Youtube “Did Covid Leak from a Lab in China?

August 25: U.S. intelligence agency report to President Biden after 90-day review is inconclusive on whether virus came from animals or a Wuhan lab. (The Guardian August 25, 2021)

August 31: “Anthony Fauci Lied Before Congress and the American People, But Will President Biden Do Anything? Evidence finds that Fauci has not been truthful about his role in funding research tied to the pandemic’s origin.” (The DisInformation Chronicle, August 31, 2021)

September 10: NIH Documents Provide New Evidence U.S. Funded Gain-of-Function Research in Wuhan (The Intercept, September 10, 2021) “Is this proof of lab leak lies?” (UnHerd, September 10, 2021)

Revealed: How scientists who dismissed Wuhan lab theory are linked to Chinese researchers (The Telegraph, September 10, 2021) 26 out of 27 signatories of the Lancet letter dismissing lab-leak theory of COVID-19 origin are linked to Wuhan researchers.

September 23: A leaked Department of Defense proposal finds that EcoHealth Alliance proposed studies that were cited as “gain-of-function.” (The Intercept, September 23, 2021)

“Some of the same experimental platforms flagged by DARPA as being gain-of-function and dual use research were those performed in the bat coronavirus emergence grant funded by [NIH] for 6 years,” said Shannon Murray of US Right to Know. (The DisInformation Chronicle, September 28, 2022)

October 21: “Fauci LIES On Gain Of Function Research CONFIRMED By NIH, EcoHealth Failed To Report Findings.” (HILL TV Rising, October 21, 2021)

November 3: “NIH Official Worked with EcoHealth Alliance to Evade Restrictions on Coronavirus Experiments: Emails show that NIH officials allowed EcoHealth Alliance to craft oversight language governing its own gain-of-function research.” (The Intercept, November 3, 2021)


January 20: “FBI Sought Documents Related to the U.S.-Funded Coronavirus Research in China.” (The Intercept, January 20, 2022)

A lawyer representing Peter Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance also asked the NIH to deny a FOIA request because “disinformation and conspiracy theories, the need to protect the privacy of EcoHealth Alliance’s employees and affiliates is more important than ever.” (The Intercept, January 20, 2022)

March 15: Emails and internal documents find that federal funds were misappropriated to set up the Global Virome Project. (The Disinformation Chronicle, March 15, 2022; US Right to Know, March 16, 2022; The DisInformation Chronicle March 22, 2022)

While at USAID, Dr. Dennis Caroll used hundreds of thousands of dollars from the PREDICT program to set up a new group called the Global Virome Project. After he retired from USAID, he then took over the GVP. (The Disinformation Chronicle, March 15, 2022)

“The Inspector General’s office should investigate whether the law was broken and, upon finding probable cause, refer the case to the Department of Justice for prosecution,” said Craig Holman of Public Citizen. (The Disinformation Chronicle, March 15, 2022)

“The law is clear that officials cannot use government resources to benefit themselves or prospective employers,” said Kedric Payne, senior director of ethics with the Campaign Legal Center. (US Right to Know, March 16, 2022)

“There’s numerous conflict of interest laws that should be investigated here to ensure that Carroll didn’t violate the laws on the books,” said Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight. (US Right to Know, March 16, 2022)

March 31: Vanity Fair reports that Robert Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was excluded from a meeting to discuss how the pandemic began early in 2020, possibly by Fauci. (Vanity Fair, March 31, 2022)

April 20: The Wuhan Institute of Virology is discovered to have a memorandum with the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch that states each lab can ask the other to return or “destroy” any “secret files” from their collaboration.  (U.S. Right to Know, April 20, 2022; Houston Chronicle, April 21, 2022)

April 27: At meeting by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and NIH virologists denied the need for more regulations for virus research. (US Right to Know, April 27, 2022.)

May 19: Two academics publish an essay in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) calling for an independent investigation of how the pandemic began. “[W]e 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.” (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 19, 2022)

June 10: World Health Organization released a report recommending more investigation into the theory that Covid-19 leaked from a Chinese laboratory, something once dismissed by some as a conspiracy theory. (NBC News, June 10, 2022) (See also, WHO Report, June 9, 2022)