The origins of SARS-CoV-2: A critical review. Academic Article uri icon


  • Since the first reports of a novel severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like coronavirus in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, there has been intense interest in understanding how severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in the human population. Recent debate has coalesced around two competing ideas: a "laboratory escape" scenario and zoonotic emergence. Here, we critically review the current scientific evidence that may help clarify the origin of SARS-CoV-2.

published proceedings

  • Cell

altmetric score

  • 2861.106

author list (cited authors)

  • Holmes, E. C., Goldstein, S. A., Rasmussen, A. L., Robertson, D. L., Crits-Christoph, A., Wertheim, J. O., ... Rambaut, A.

citation count

  • 126

complete list of authors

  • Holmes, Edward C||Goldstein, Stephen A||Rasmussen, Angela L||Robertson, David L||Crits-Christoph, Alexander||Wertheim, Joel O||Anthony, Simon J||Barclay, Wendy S||Boni, Maciej F||Doherty, Peter C||Farrar, Jeremy||Geoghegan, Jemma L||Jiang, Xiaowei||Leibowitz, Julian L||Neil, Stuart JD||Skern, Tim||Weiss, Susan R||Worobey, Michael||Andersen, Kristian G||Garry, Robert F||Rambaut, Andrew

publication date

  • September 2021

published in