Skip to main content
News_

The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2

24 March 2020
Where did COVID-19 come from?
Prominent MBI researcher Professor Eddie Holmes latest analyses shows that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.
Kristian G. Andersen, Andrew Rambaut, W. Ian Lipkin, Edward C. Holmes & Robert F. Garry

To the editor (Nature Medicine)

Since the first reports of novel pneumonia (COVID-19) in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, there has been considerable discussion on the origin of the causative virus, SARS-CoV-2 (also referred to as HCoV-19). Infections with SARS-CoV-2 are now widespread, and as of 11 March 2020, 121,564 cases have been confirmed in more than 110 countries, with 4,373 deaths.

SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh coronavirus known to infect humans; SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 can cause severe disease, whereas HKU1, NL63, OC43 and 229E are associated with mild symptoms. Here we review what can be deduced about the origin of SARS-CoV-2 from comparative analysis of genomic data. We offer a perspective on the notable features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome and discuss scenarios by which they could have arisen. Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.

Related articles

20 March 2019

MBI and FAO United Nations to collaborate to combat emerging infectious diseases

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and The Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity (MBI) have joined hands to combat the threat of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases by increasing capacity in outbreak investigation and disease surveillance. 

26 March 2019

Global Health Security Conference

With support of our Conference Partners, the University of Sydney are hosting the first international conference on global health security in Sydney, 18-20 June 2019 - registrations are now open 

26 March 2019

Video-Reflexive Ethnography in Health Research and Healthcare Improvement: Theory and Application

This methodology has enjoyed increasing popularity among researchers internationally and has been inspired by developments across a range of disciplines: ethnography, visual and applied anthropology, medical sociology, health services research, medical and nursing education, adult education, community development, and qualitative research ethics.