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New Routes to Making COVID-19 in the Lab

Chinese authorities are stonewalling all inquiries into the origin of the SARS2 virus. But that hardly seems to matter when new documents from the U.S. side are revealing so much.

It’s long been known that the EcoHealth Alliance in New York was funding researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China to manipulate SARS-like bat viruses in the laboratory. One of these manipulations could have led to the creation of the SARS2 virus, which then escaped from the lab. But there was no way to prove this, and lab leak has remained a plausible conjecture just like the rival hypothesis, that the virus jumped naturally from bats to people.

Two new caches of documents have added considerable substance — though not yet proof — to the idea that the SARS2 epidemic may have originated in a lab accident.

One is a grant proposal written by EcoHealth in March 2018 to DARPA, a research agency in the Department of Defense. The document was obtained by DRASTIC, a research co-operative that is exploring the lab leak hypothesis, and released on September 20.