WHO experts likely to reconsider China lab origin theory of COVID-19
The WHO report’s annex mentions multiple data points which provide an intriguing insight into China’s evolving knowledge of the virus as well as the likely timing of its emergence.
According to the reports, the scientists of the World Health Organisation are expected to restudy the ‘dominant theory’ that the SARS-CoV-2 has probably originated and spread across the world from Wuhan lab in China.
As per the source, the previously overlooked Chinese data on the extensive screening of the animals for Coronavirus around the time when the pandemic erupted is among several areas that have been identified for further study by WHO scientists who have been investigating the origin of the virus.
The WHO team investigating the origin of Coronavirus had visited the Hubei Center for animal disease control and prevention in Wuhan, China on February 2, 2021.
Overlooked records from China to be restudied by WHO:
Reportedly, the records are contained in a nearly 200-page annexe posted alongside the World Health organization Panel’s March report that received very little attention among the global experts at the time.
However, the data in these records may add weight to calls from the critics of China for more transparency as well as to the WHO team’s desire of returning to the country for further studies.
What does the WHO report’s annex on China contain?
• The WHO report’s annex mentions multiple data points which provide an intriguing insight into China’s evolving knowledge of the virus as well as the likely timing of its emergence.
• The report provides the details of China’s storage and destruction of positive COVID-19 samples from humans.
• There are also details of a significant influenza outbreak that had emerged in December 2019, which is also the same time when Coronavirus emerged.
• There is also a revelation that the first people known to have contracted the virus had contact with a total of 28 separate animal and food markets in December.
When WHO’s team will be revisiting China?
There has been no set date for the WHO team’s return to China, however, any future visit to the country where the virus had emerged in the city of Wuhan in late 2019-may involve only ‘smaller groups supporting the specific studies first’.
A larger group, similar to the 17 international experts who visited China in January 2021, might then follow up.
Previous dismissal of lab leak theory by WHO:
The WHO team, after a 12day visit to Wuhan, China, on February 9, 2021, had clearly dismissed the theory that the virus had originated from a lab in Wuhan. On the contrary, the team had concluded that the virus most probably got transmitted to humans via an intermediary species.
The team that had visited China on January 14, 2021, had stated that the findings suggest that the hypothesis of lab leak is highly unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus into the human population.
The global health body had also informed that there is no evidence of the Coronavirus circulation in any animal species in China. The team had visited China after the mounting international pressure of various countries including the United States, Australia who criticized China for poorly handling the initial cases of infections and hiding the extent of the outbreak.
WHO had also faced criticism, particularly by the western countries, who pointed that there was a delay by the global health body in sending the international experts to China to investigate the origin of the virus.
US maintains its stand on COVID-19 origin in China:
As earlier, the US has maintained that the origin of Coronavirus can be traced back to China.
The former head of the United States Food and Drug Administration has stated that the circumstantial evidence of Coronavirus originating in Wuhan lab in China continues to grow as the researchers are yet to prove that the virus has jumped from animals to humans.
The former State Secretary of US Mike Pompeo has also claimed that every piece of evidence has pointed to a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He added that the Chinese Communist Party must be held accountable for it.