The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2 remains unknown. There are two leading hypotheses: that the virus emerged as a zoonotic spillover from wildlife or a farm animal, possibly through a wet market, in a location that is still undetermined; or that the virus emerged from a research-related incident, during the field collection of viruses, or through a laboratory-associated escape. No independent, transparent, and science-based investigation has been carried out regarding the bioengineering of SARS-like viruses that was underway before the outbreak of COVID-19.
The laboratory notebooks, databases, email records, and samples of institutions involved in such research have not been made available to independent researchers. Independent researchers have not yet investigated the US laboratories engaged in the laboratory manipulation of SARS-CoV-like viruses, nor have they investigated the details of the laboratory research that had been underway in Wuhan.