Retract "Proximal Origin?" No, says Nature Medicine editor

Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks

The scientific paper “Proximal Origin of SARS-Cov-2,” which was commissioned by Anthony Fauci in order to debunk the lab leak theory of COVID’s origins, has been essentially debunked.


By that, I don’t mean its conclusions have been proven wrong–although by now we all have adequate reasons to believe that they are likely wrong–but rather that the paper itself is a bunch of propaganda written at the behest of the government by pliable scientists who depended upon Fauci for funding, and who clearly did not believe that what they were writing was true. They were engaged in self-conscious fraud.

We now have contemporaneous Slack messages and emails where the authors not only express doubts that what they were writing was true, but that prove they thought that the claim they were making–that COVID arose naturally without human interference and that it spread from an animal to a human being via natural processes–was likely not true.

For instance, the highest profile author of the paper Kristian Andersen wrote this to a colleague during the editing of the paper:

Andersen wrote that “the main issue is that accidental release is in fact highly likely—it’s not some fringe theory. I absolutely agree that we can’t prove one way or the other, but we never will be able to—however, that doesn’t mean that by default the data is currently much more suggestive of a natural origin as opposed to e.g. passage. It is not—the furin cleavage site is very hard to explain”—referring to a feature of the virus that concerned the scientists at the time.

Here are some of the things the scientists were saying to each other as they wrote a paper that purported to prove a lab leak was unlikely and gain-of-function had nothing to do with COVID’s origins.


I have written about all that before and won’t rehash the evidence because if by now you won’t acknowledge that there was a coverup, I can’t convince you. Go read the evidence yourself.

Here are some articles here at Hot Air that cover the controversy:

The full cache of messages on the lab-leak origin theory suppression

Leaked Slack/email exchanges prove scientists lied about COVID origins

Evidence presented of political pressure in suppression of lab leak theory

Why didn’t the Republicans use the evidence they had?

Why wasn’t this much bigger news?

There is now a near consensus that at the very least a lab leak is quite plausible, which has raised the question: why hasn’t Nature Medicine, the journal that published this paper that spawned a million censorships, looked into retracting the paper given its clear contradiction with both reality and with the now apparent opinions of the authors as they wrote the paper?

If the authors lied in the paper, shouldn’t it be retracted?

No. Because Nature Medicine is now rewriting history. The editor now claims that the paper wasn’t research at all, but an expression of an opinion. Just a “point of view.” It wasn’t definitive research, but an Op/Ed or something.


You can see the change. In 2020 the paper was an authoritative statement based on solid, irrefutable research that COVID had a natural origin. Any challenge to that was a conspiracy theory.

Today it is just an opinion piece. Some people might say…

This is profoundly deceptive. Careers were made and ruined based on whether you said out loud that COVID might have been engineered through gain of function. Even suggesting that it came from a lab was enough to get you kicked off social media and shouted out of your profession. Premier virologists were slandered for deviating a bit from the company line, which suggests that anybody who doesn’t have a lifetime tenure appointment was silenced entirely for fear of losing everything.

Senator Tom Cotton was vilified for making the most anodyne suggestion that a natural emergence was the most likely explanation, but a lab leak should be investigated. He was vilified for months as a conspiracy theorist. Matt Taibbi has a great piece on this. The very scientists who were attacking him in public discussed how in fact he was “not totally wrong.” They left him hanging out to dry because he is a Republican. No kidding. He said the right thing for the wrong reasons in their view. Republicans deserve to be slandered.


The scientists were saying that to each other while the NYT was printing this:

There are so many problems with the Proximal Origins paper. First, it was commissioned by Fauci to prove something not in evidence–yet Fauci even pretended to not know the authors and said so from the White House podium–to its complete dishonesty. The authors either believed in some cases and suspected in all cases that what they were writing was false–and took direction and editing from Fauci and the Nature editors to arrive at a politically palatable conclusion.

Even if every word turned out to be true, which they clearly are not, the paper itself is a fraud. It claims to prove something that none of the authors believed or were confident of and did so for political and not scientific reasons. The authors were rewarded with millions in grants after publication.

That the Editor of Nature Medicine even has to backtrack from his original assertion that the paper put to rest conspiracy theories through careful analysis and retreat to “it was just an opinion piece” proves my point. It was never science.


The Proximal Origins paper–the cornerstone of the efforts to silence discussion about how COVID developed, spread into the human population, and of course about how we conduct biological research–was nothing but a fraud. If it turns out that COVID was spread by some bat or pangolin was the case, the paper is still a fraud.

Not only should it be retracted. People need to lose their jobs, their careers, and their reputations. That is the least that should happen. It happened to many of the people they slandered.

They committed a fraud. There must be consequences. A retraction of the paper would be only a start. Unfortunately, it likely won’t happen.

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