TitleNatural and unnatural history of the coronavirus: The uncertain path to the pandemic
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsBalaram P.
Start Page2
Date Published06/2021

There is currently an ongoing debate on the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hypothesis that the virus emerged as a result of natural zoonotic transfer has been controversially questioned, on the basis of unusual sequence signatures in the spike protein and the absence of evidence for an intermediate animal host. This article briefly surveys the background to coronavirus research and addresses the development of the methods of gain of function research, which have been suggested to be a potential public health threat in the event of laboratory leakage.