Eminent global scientists demand proper probe into COVID origins

An open letter from a global coalition of eminent global scientists:

Reaction to the China-WHO joint study team report

CoV-2 origin hypotheses.”Having read the report entitled‘WHO-convenedGlobalStudy of Origins of SARS-CoV-2: China part’ and reviewed the statements made in the March 30, 2021 WHO-organized press event announcing the report’s release, we have regrettably concluded that our concerns were fully justified.

In addition to the issues regarding the joint mission structure and process outlined in our previous open letter, we wish to express the following concerns regarding the joint study process and report conclusions:

The joint study team saw its priority as seeking a zoonotic origin, not as fully examining all possible sources of the pandemic. Its Terms of Reference did not mention any possible lab-pathway and on the contrary explicitly stated a strict zoonosis origin from the very start (“identify the zoonotic source of the virus”).

The published data supporting the mission report mostly present reviews of Chinese studies that have not been published, shared with, or reviewed by the international scientific community.

Well over a year after the initial outbreak, critical records and biological samples that could provide essential insights into pandemic origins remain inaccessible. This withholding of key resources that could and should have been made available undermined the credibility of the joint study team work.

The joint study team used different evidentiary standards for the four origin theories it considered.No solid justification is provided for why a ‘lab-relatedaccident’(whether a lab-leak or sampling accident) should be considered ‘extremely unlikely’, or why a natural spillover via an unknown animal host should be considered ‘likely to very likely’.

At this stage there is still no direct evidence for either pathway nor any verified data or evidence sufficient to rule any one out, while historical evidence amply supports both.

In particular, a primary conclusion of the report, that SARS-CoV-2 was most probably introduced into the human population through an intermediate host, is not supported by the negative results of all the 80,000 tested samples of wildlife, livestock (35species) and poultry. That pathway remains entirely theoretical, which at the very least shows the necessity to remain open to other pathways.

The joint study report spends a mere 440 words examining the lab-accident pathway – less than 1% of the whole report – and does so in a dismissive and superficial way without considering all the possible versions of that pathway, including a possible infection of a sampling team member by a virus that may never have been isolated or sequenced. The joint study report also makes no mention of the Gain of Function researchon bat corona viruses that was being carried out in Wuhan in the second half of 2019.

The 440-word assessment of the lab-accident pathway is supplemented by Annex D7 of the report, which labels the lab-pathway as a ‘conspiracy theory’ five times while containing disputed, incorrect, imprecise, and contradictory assertions (as detailed in the supplement below).

The final process utilized by the joint study team for assessing the likelihood of the lab pathway – essentially a show of hands by the joint study team members based on an extremely superficial review – failed to reach some most basic standards of credible analysis and assessment. Further, it is at best unclear whether the Chinese joint study team members had the leeway to express their fair evaluation of all hypotheses in the presence of Chinese government minder

Against these significant limitations and procedural failures that call the conclusions of the China-WHOjoint study report into question,we fully support the March 30, 2021 statement by WHO Director-General Dr.Tedros AdhanomGhebreyesusthat all origin hypotheses must still be examined, including the possibility of a lab-related incident, that China must be more forthright in sharing essential data and biological samples, and that WHO is prepared to send additional missions and experts to China in order to thoroughly examine all origin hypotheses. We welcome this courageous defense of the WHO’s integrity and recognize the organization’s potential to lead a comprehensive investigation into pandemic origins, if given the mandate and necessary support.

We further welcome the March 30, 2021 Joint Statement on the WHO-convened COVID-19 Origins Study by 14 countries underscoring the need for “a transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence” and voicing their shared
concern that the joint study “lacked access to complete,original data and samples.” We also recognize the EuropeanUnionStatementon the WHO-led COVID-19OriginsStudy underlining that the identification of the source of the SARS-CoV-2virus will “require full and transparent cooperation by all WHO Member States and a collaborative effort by scientists from various disciplines.


Colin D. Butler, Honorary Professor of Public Health, Australian National University, Canberra,Australia ORCID 0000-0002-2942-5294
Jean-Michel Claverie, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Virologist, Aix-Marseille University,France(ORCID 0000-0003-1424-0315)
Fabien Colombo, PhD Candidate, Communication and sociology of science, MICA, UniversitéBordeauxMontaigne,France
FranciscoA. de Ribera,IndustrialEngineer,MBA,MSc(Res),Data scientist,Madrid,Spain (ORCID 0000-0003-4419-636X)
Rodolphede Maistre,MSc engineering,MBA,IHEDN,France(ORCID 0000-0002-3433-2420)
GillesDemaneuf,Engineerand DataScientist,BNZ,Auckland,NewZealand, (Co-Organizer)
RichardH.Ebright,Professorof Chemistry and ChemicalBiology,RutgersUniversity,USA
Andre M.Goffinet,Prof.em., Neurobiology,Universityof Louvain,Belgium
Francois Graner, biophysicist,Research Director, CNRS and Universite de Paris,France, (ORCID 0000-0002-4766-3579)
José Halloy, Professor of Physics, Biophysics and Sustainability, Université de Paris, France(ORCID 0000-0003-1555-2484)
Makoto Itoh,Dr.Eng.,FullProfessorof Engineering,Informationand Systems,University of Tsukuba, Japan
HidekiKakeya,Dr.Eng.,Associate Professorof Engineering,Informationand Systems, University of Tsukuba, Japan (ORCID 0000-0003-3788-9133)
MiltonLeitenberg,Senior ResearchAssociate,School of PublicAffairs,Universityof Maryland,USA
Filippa Lentzos,Senior Lecturerin Science& InternationalSecurity,King’sCollege
London,UnitedKingdom(ORCID 0000-0001-6427-4025)
JamieMetzl,Senior Fellow,AtlanticCouncil,USA (Co-Organizer)
DominiqueMorello,Molecularbiologist,formerly DRCNRS, science communicator, France
NikolaiPetrovsky,Professorof Medicine,FlindersUniversity,Australia(ORCID 0000-0002-1580-5245)
StevenQuay,MD,PHD,FormerlyAsst. Professor,Departmentof Pathology,Stanford
University School of Medicine,USA(ORCID 0000-0002-0363-7651)
MonaliC. Rahalkar,PhD,Scientist D,BioenergyGroup,Agharkar ResearchInstitute, Pune,India
RossanaSegreto,PhD,Departmentof Microbiology,Universityof Innsbruck,Austria (ORCID 0000-0002-2566-7042)
Günter Theißen,Dr.rer.nat.,Professorof Genetics,MatthiasSchleidenInstitute,
FriedrichSchiller UniversityJena, Germany (ORCID 0000-0003-4854-8692)
Jacquesvan Helden,Ir.PhD,Professorof Bioinformatics,Departmentof Biology,
Aix-MarseilleUniversité,France (ORCID 0000-0002-8799-8584).
RolandWiesendanger,Dr. phil.,Professorof Physics,Universityof Hamburg,Germany

Cross them off Xi Jinping’s Xmas card list. Full letter.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. kiwikarynMEMBER

    Might as well just give up. The people that worked in the lab in late 2019 have all been disappeared. They won’t find them, therefore they won’t find any answers. China got away with it.

  2. Ronin8317MEMBER

    All the evidence no longer exists. This is nothing but another part of the propaganda war against China.

    • ChinajimMEMBER

      Yes “Andrew”, evidence suggests it had escaped from China and had begun to circulate before the first official case in Wuhan on December 8, 2019. The areas where this may have occurred have good links with Wuhan. Northern Italy in particular is very closely linked to Wuhan via Chinese buying up and operating Italian luxury goods firms. The west coast of the USA also has, or had, extremely good transport links with China and a large mainland diaspora.

      Still awaiting studies for circulation within China before the first official date. Good luck with getting any good data out of China – in fact that is what this letter is about.

      Doh !!

    • desmodromicMEMBER

      The risk of pandemic in humans from a coronavirus endemic to horseshoe bats in southern China has long been predicted in the scientific literature. These concerns heightened with the emergence of SARS-1. What we don’t know yet is the infection pathway and the exact chronology for SARS-2 or COVID-19. The more CCP gets in the way the more likely people will conclude there is something to hide and this is an accident associated with an active research program. If not, get out of the way and let independent scientists do their work.

    • I'll have anotherMEMBER

      Your link in the Forbes article only shows antibodies against corona virus, not a definitive covid infection.

      It also doesn’t prove the isolated sample they found corona virus antibodies for was even in the US at the time of infection or where the infection came from and when it occured.

      Why you would be so willing to adopt the CCP position based on this tiny US sample that literally proves nothing and turn a blind eye to the massive amount of evidence mounting that it originated in Wuhan tells me you are actively looking for reasons to have it be anyone other than China. I will let others draw their own conclusions as to why that may be the case.

  3. Ailart SuaMEMBER

    One thing that cannot be denied, is that covid19 provided an excellent excuse for governments to produce lots and lots of helicopter money. The level of which, would never have occurred in a covid-free environment – despite a very sick pre-covid global economy; stuck in a neoliberal mindset. I just wonder what shape the world would be in right now, had the pandemic ‘genie’ remained in the bottle.

    • Governments would have found some other excuse to print the money the system id’s addicted to. They just got lucky in that the CCP was inept in containing the virus and then made certain it got out to the rest of the world once they knew it was running around in China.

      Some of us remember that the repo market was having coniptions in 2H 19

      • @Djenka.
        Great comment:)
        I’ve developed a somewhat lame pastime testing which words trigger the ‘narrative’ moderator.
        Every fellow has a part to play.
        My follow the money tips:
        Simpsons cruise ship episode.
        Simpsons Homer unpacks crate episode
        Any Family Guy episode
        517A princes Hwy knob park
        Head writer…
        30 Tabernacle street, Shoreditch, London