Geneva – Two years laterThe first was found in China, and with at least 6.3 million deaths counted from the global epidemic, the World Health Organization is strongly recommending that an in-depth investigation be carried out into whether laboratory accidents could be blamed. That stance sharply reverses the UN Health Agency’s initial assessment of the origin of the epidemic and comes after many critics accused the WHO of rushing to scrap or reduce the lab-leak doctrine, which has kept Chinese officials on the defensive.
WHOCOVID-19 may have been transmitted to humans from a laboratory in Wuhan. Many scientists Probably through another animal.
However, in a report released Thursday, the WHO’s expert group said “key pieces of data” were still missing to describe how the epidemic began. The scientists said the group would “remain open to any and all available scientific evidence in the future to allow for a comprehensive test of all practical hypotheses.”
It usually takes years to identify the source of the disease in animals. It took scientists more than a decade to discover the species of Chamero, a natural reservoir for the SARS, a relative of the Covid-19.
The WHO’s expert group commented that the highly politicized theory could not be discounted because laboratory accidents had caused some outbreaks in the past. Jean-Claude Manuguera, co-chair of the 27-member international advisory group, acknowledged that some scientists may be “allergic” to the idea of researching laboratory leakage theory, but that they need to be sufficiently “open-minded”. Check it out.
About a year ago, the US intelligence agency arrested Dr.Demonstrating the inability to determine with any degree of certainty whether the virus appeared naturally in animals or came from a laboratory. A few months later, the American Intel community It was impossible to determine the origin of this epidemic without new information or the great help of China.
The new report could revive the accusation that the WHO initially accepted the Chinese government’s explanation in the wake of the outbreak, which eventually killed millions, sickened millions, forced dozens of countries into lockdown and boosted the world economy.
China has been quick to lash out at recent WHO reports and calls for further investigations into the possibility of an epidemic leak. Foreign Minister Wang Yi called the laboratory leak theory a “lie made by anti-China forces for political purposes, which has nothing to do with science.”
But during the same briefing, Wang said “like highly questionable laboratories [the U.S. military’s] Fort Dietrich and the University of North Carolina “should be further investigated as possible origins of the epidemic.The coronavirus may have come from a US laboratory without any evidence.
An investigation by the Associated Press found that although the WHO praised Chinese President Xi Jinping, some top WHO insiders were disappointed with China during the initial outbreak. They were concerned about how China was trying to stop the investigation into the origin of COVID-19.
Former US President Donald Trump has repeatedly speculated – without proof – that COVID-19 was launched in a Chinese laboratory. He also accused the WHO of “reconciling” with China to cover the initial outbreak, citing the country’s continued public praise for the UN health agency’s refusal to share important data with China.
The WHO’s expert group said that WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gebreis sent two letters to Chinese government officials in February seeking information on the initial human cases of Covid-19 in Wuhan. It is unclear whether the Chinese responded.
Experts said that no study was submitted to WHO to evaluate the potential of COVID-19 as a result of laboratory leakage.
Jamie Metzl, who sits on an unrelated WHO advisory group, suggests that the Group of Seven industrialized nations lacks the political authority, expertise and freedom to make such important assessments as the WHO sets up its own research on covid origin.
Metzl welcomed the WHO’s call for further investigation into the possibility of a laboratory leak, but said it was insufficient.
“Unfortunately, the Chinese government is still refusing to share the necessary raw data and does not allow the necessary, full audit of Wuhan laboratories,” he said. “Access to this information is important for both how the epidemic started and how to prevent future epidemics.”
In Washington, the House Republican-led subcommittee on the COVID-19 epidemic tweeted: “When asked if # COVID19 came from a laboratory leak, Americans were called ‘conspiracy theorists.’ Now, the WHO is asking similar questions.”
“We need answers,” said Louisiana Representative Steve Scalis.
Experts from the WHO say more research is needed, including studies assessing the role of wild animals, and environmental studies that may be the first time the virus has spread to places such as Wuhan’s Huanan seafood market.
In March 2021, the WHO released a report on the origin of COVID-19 following a highly choreographed visit by international scientists to China. The report concludes that the disease may have been transmitted from bats to humans, and there is no evidence to suggest a laboratory connection.
However, after considerable criticism from some of the WHO’s team, including scientists, the agency’s director acknowledged that it was “premature” to deny the laboratory leak.
In a new report, the WHO says experts have been given access to data that includes unpublished blood samples from more than 40,000 people in Wuhan in 2019. Samples were tested for Covid-19 antibodies. No one was diagnosed with the virus before it was first identified at the end of December that year.
WHO experts called for more studies, including testing of wild animals to find out which species could host COVID-19. They also said that the “cold chain” supply theory needs to be researched. China has already argued that traces of COVID-19 in frozen packaging were causing outbreaks rather than domestic sources, a theory widely speculated by outside scientists.
To investigate whether COVID-19 could be the result of a laboratory accident, WHO experts said that “employees working in laboratories assigned to manage and implement biosafety and biosafety should be interviewed.”
China has called the introduction of the Covid-19 laboratory “baseless” and opposed the idea that the virus originated in US facilities, also known as coronavirus research in animals. The Chinese government has said it supports the search for the origin of the epidemic, but other countries should focus.
In a footnote to the report, the WHO team noted that its own experts – three scientists from China, Brazil and Russia – disagreed with the call to investigate the possibility of COVID-19 spreading from a laboratory accident.
Scientists affiliated with the WHO lamented in August 2021 that the search for the origin of the epidemic had stopped and that the window of opportunity was “closing fast”. They warn that it is now even more difficult to collect data that is at least two years old.