WHO says it could be ‘final likelihood’ to seek out COVID origins By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was recognized as the reason for an outbreak of respiratory sickness first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration launched by the Facilities for

By Stephanie Nebehay and Pushkala Aripaka

GENEVA (Reuters) -The World Well being Group (WHO) mentioned on Wednesday its newly fashioned advisory group on harmful pathogens could also be “our final likelihood” to find out the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and referred to as for cooperation from China.

The primary human instances of COVID-19 have been reported within the central Chinese language metropolis of Wuhan in December 2019. China has repeatedly dismissed theories that the virus leaked from considered one of its laboratories and has mentioned no extra visits are wanted.

A WHO-led workforce spent 4 weeks in and round Wuhan earlier this 12 months with Chinese language scientists, and mentioned in a joint report in March that the virus had in all probability been transmitted from bats to people via one other animal however additional analysis was wanted.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has mentioned that the investigation was hampered by a dearth of uncooked knowledge pertaining to the primary days of the outbreak’s unfold and has referred to as for lab audits.

The WHO on Wednesday named the 26 proposed members of its Scientific Advisory Group on the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO). They embody Marion Koopmans, Thea Fischer, Hung Nguyen and Chinese language animal well being skilled Yang Yungui, who took half within the joint investigation in Wuhan. [L1N2R91AM]


Maria van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, voiced hope that there could be additional WHO-led worldwide missions to China which might have interaction the nation’s cooperation.

She instructed a information convention that “greater than three dozen really useful research” nonetheless wanted to be carried out to find out how the virus crossed from the animal species to people.

Reported Chinese language assessments for antibodies current in Wuhan residents in 2019 will likely be “completely important” to understanding the virus’s origins, van Kerkhove mentioned.

Mike Ryan, WHO’s high emergency skilled, mentioned the brand new panel will be the final likelihood to ascertain the origin of SARS-CoV-2, “a virus that has stopped our complete world”.

The WHO was looking for to “take a step again, create an atmosphere the place we will once more have a look at the scientific points”, he mentioned.

Chen Xu, China’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, instructed a separate information convention the conclusions of the joint research have been “fairly clear,” including that as worldwide groups had been despatched to China twice already, “it’s time to ship groups to different locations.”

“I do imagine that if we’re going to proceed with the scientific analysis I believe it ought to be a joint effort based mostly on science not by the intelligence companies,” Chen mentioned. “So if we’re going to discuss something, we’re doing the entire enterprise with the framework of SAGO”.

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