New COVID-19 Origins Update Underscores Importance of an Evidence-Based Inquiry

March 1, 2023

Washington, DC – The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a new classified report on the origins of COVID-19, determining with “low confidence” that the COVID-19 pandemic most likely resulted from a laboratory leak. Four other federal agencies and a national intelligence panel still maintain that the pandemic was likely a result of a natural spillover from a zoonotic host, and 2 agencies are undecided, while the FBI’s investigation aligns with the DOE report.

The American Society for Microbiology supports a science-based, open and comprehensive inquiry into the origins of the pandemic. We are encouraged that government and intelligence agencies continue their due diligence in the investigation. Agencies may reach different conclusions, which is consistent with the process of scientific inquiry, and their determinations may change as new information becomes available. Identifying the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic is an important component of our work to improve strategies to prepare for and protect ourselves against future pandemics and outbreaks. It is essential that this investigative work follow the science and involve the appropriate scientific experts.

The conclusions we draw about the origins of COVID-19 will inform the future of high-consequence pathogen research around the world and pandemic preparedness here in the U.S., so it is crucial that we conduct a free, open and complete inquiry and do not draw premature conclusions. Because pathogens know no borders, we also urge international collaboration, to the extent possible, in the search for evidence and answers.


The American Society for Microbiology is one of the largest professional societies dedicated to the life sciences and is composed of 30,000 scientists and health practitioners. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications, educational opportunities and advocacy efforts. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.

Author: ASM Advocacy

ASM Advocacy
ASM Advocacy is making it easy and providing opportunities for members to advocate for evidence-based scientific policy.