The Contested Origin of SARS-CoV-2

Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.

This article is free to access.


This article describes what is known about the origin of SARS-CoV-2, with implications for policy, biological research and public-health surveillance. Theories about the origin include a natural emergence; a laboratory accident with a naturally harvested strain; an accident with a naturally harvested strain modified in a laboratory; and the deliberate creation of a biological weapon. While available scientific evidence points to a natural zoonotic event as the origin of SARS-CoV-2, this paper recommends specific steps governments and scientific institutions should take to address uncertainties about the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to make all potential causes for a pandemic less likely to produce one in the future. Immediate steps include promoting international scientific collaboration, addressing scientific misinformation and disinformation, fully implementing ‘One Health’ and reining in the illegal wildlife trade.




Gronvall, G. K. (2021). The Contested Origin of SARS-CoV-2. Survival, 63(6), 7–36.

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free