Wuhan lab 'not ruled out' from investigation says WHO professor
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Investigations into the origins of coronavirus began in January 2021, with the WHO leading the probe in China. But now, rumours are flying that the WHO will scrap an interim report on the origin of coronavirus amid mounting tensions between China and the USA.
Coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, in December 2019.
The investigation, led by the WHO, spent four weeks in China investigating the origins of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The White House has raised “deep concerns” over the report being free from “alteration by the Chinese Government”, a statement released last month read.
One international group of scientists have also called for a fresh inquiry.
What is in the report?
The report aims to find the origin of coronavirus, starting with where the first human transmissions were recorded back in January 2020.
Mission leader Peter Ben Embarek noted in mid-January: “It’s important to understand the origin of the virus for three reasons. One is if we find the source and if it’s still out there, we can prevent future reintroduction of the same virus into the human population.
“Second, if we understand how this one jumped from bats origin into humans, we can perhaps prevent similar events in the future.
“Third, if we can find the virus, what it looked like before it jumped to the human population, we could potentially be in a better position to develop more efficient treatments and vaccines for this disease.”
Teams from the visit to Wuhan have not yet been able to establish any clear findings on the origin of coronavirus.
Evidence gathered dispels the conspiracy theory that the virus was started in and released from a lab.
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Is the probe being scrapped?
The entire investigation is not being scrapped – but the findings of the report will be delayed if the claims made by the WSJ are correct.
Efforts to understand COVID-19’s origin have not been without roadblocks.
China has refused to give raw data on the country’s early COVID-19 cases to the team, one investigator said last month.
The team had requested raw patient data on 174 cases that China had identified from the early phase of the outbreak in the city, as well as other cases, but were only provided with a summary.
WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said via email: “The full report is expected in coming weeks”.
WHO director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a press conference that “all hypotheses remain open and require further analysis and studies,” after Washington said it wanted to review data from the mission to China.
No further information is immediately available about the reasons for the delay in publishing any findings.
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