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The revised and expanded paperback edition of my newest book, Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19, co-authored with the brilliant scientist Alina Chan, is now available to purchase in the United States, in the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. It was a privilege to help Alina write Viral, and a privilege to create this updated version with her. I hope it will play a role in shedding light on what I still consider the most important question facing the world today.


The launch of the paperback edition of Viral is different from those for my other books, for two reasons.

One is that due to the nature of the topic, this paperback has been significantly revised and expanded. Most importantly, the epilogue discusses three new developments since the publication of the hardback. The first was the discovery of a virus in a bat in Laos that is slightly more similar to SARS-CoV-2 than the virus studied at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The second is detailed information about how prominent western virologists, who had privately thought the virus was likely manipulated in a laboratory, began to instead tell the public that no lab-based scenario was plausible. The third is a trio of conflicting studies about whether the Huanan seafood market was the site of a natural spillover of the virus from animals to people, or just the site of a human superspreader event in December 2019.

The other reason is the media’s odd reaction to the hardcover launch. While it received praise from readers and had some impact, like giving us the opportunity to testify for Parliament, many people and institutions, from virologists to CNN to The Smithsonian, made it clear they felt threatened by Viral’s subject matter. The paperback launch gives us a second opportunity to bring attention to the search for the origin of the pandemic—and the forces that don’t want us bringing attention to it.

If you haven’t read Viral yet, now is the perfect time to finally do so.

If you have read Viral (and are happy you did), please consider purchasing the paperback edition anyway, to learn about the developments since last fall, and to help draw attention to it by making the paperback launch a success.

Order Viral from 

Order Viral from

Order Viral from

Order Viral from

You can also help by discussing it with friends and on social media, and by leaving a review when you’re finished.

The world deserves to know how this all truly started, both out of justice for the millions killed and the many more affected, and to prevent the next pandemic. We hope that Viral will help make that happen, and the release of this paperback edition may be the last chance for it to do so.

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Matt Ridley’s latest book Viral: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19, co-authored with scientist Alina Chan from Harvard and MIT’s Broad Institute, is now availablein the United States, in the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.

By Matt Ridley | Tagged:  biology  origin-of-covid