Searching for the Origin of Covid-19 (Video Available)

Speaker: Alina Chan, at the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard University

Date: November 15, 2021 at 4:00PM - 5:30PM

In May 2020, I co-authored a preprint that asked whether SARS-CoV-2 might have emerged naturally or from a lab. The preprint propelled me into an unpredictable year-and-a-half journey of searching for the origin of Covid-19. In May 2021, I agreed to write down what I had learnt in a book that will be released on November 16, VIRAL: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19.

In this Landmark talk, I will discuss the role of scientists in the investigation of how SARS-CoV-2 emerged in Wuhan in late 2019. I will also describe the available data relevant to the origin of Covid-19, and how scientists can and must play an important role in what is possibly the most important mystery of our generation. This virus will be with us forever. We need to know where it came from.

Dr. Alina Chan is a postdoctoral researcher with a background in medical genetics, synthetic biology, and vector engineering. At the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard, Dr. Chan is currently creating next generation vectors for human gene therapy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Chan began to investigate problems relevant to finding the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and in parallel spearheaded the development of the COVID-19 CoV Genetics (covidcg.org) browser for scientists worldwide to rapidly track virus lineages and mutations by locations and date ranges of interest. Dr. Chan is the author of Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19.


Publications

Chung MK, Smith MR, Lin Y, Walker DI, Jones D, Patel CJ, Kong SW. Plasma metabolomics of autism spectrum disorder and influence of shared components in proband families. Exposome 2021.

Toce MS, Hudgins JD, Yuskaitis CJ, Monuteaux MC, Bourgeois FT. National assessment of anti-epileptic drug exposures among pre-teens and adolescents, 2000-2020. Clinical toxicology (Philadelphia, Pa.) 2022.

Schuster JE, Halasa NB, Nakamura M, Levy ER, Fitzgerald JC, Young CC, Newhams MM, Bourgeois F, Staat MA, Hobbs CV, Dapul H, Feldstein LR, Jackson AM, Mack EH, Walker TC, Maddux AB, Spinella PC, Loftis LL, Kong M, Rowan CM, Bembea MM, McLaughlin GE, Hall MW, Babbitt CJ, Maamari M, Zinter MS, Cvijanovich NZ, Michelson KN, Gertz SJ, Carroll CL, Thomas NJ, Giuliano JS, Singh AR, Hymes SR, Schwarz AJ, McGuire JK, Nofziger RA, Flori HR, Clouser KN, Wellnitz K, Cullimore ML, Hume JR, Patel M, Randolph AG, . A Description of COVID-19-Directed Therapy in Children Admitted to US Intensive Care Units 2020. Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society 2022.

Chen D, Gervai JZ, Póti Á, Németh E, Szeltner Z, Szikriszt B, Gyüre Z, Zámborszky J, Ceccon M, d'Adda di Fagagna F, Szallasi Z, Richardson AL, Szüts D. BRCA1 deficiency specific base substitution mutagenesis is dependent on translesion synthesis and regulated by 53BP1. Nature communications 2022.

Maharaj AS, Parker J, Hopkins JP, Gournis E, Bogoch II, Rader B, Astley CM, Ivers NM, Hawkins JB, Lee L, Tuite AR, Fisman DN, Brownstein JS, Lapointe-Shaw L. Comparison of longitudinal trends in self-reported symptoms and COVID-19 case activity in Ontario, Canada. PloS one 2022.