Animals Most Likely Source of Coronavirus — WHO Report
Mar 30 2021
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises. A detailed report will also be released on Tuesday.
Dr Ben-Embarek said there was a lot of attention on the investigative team because the "whole world was watching".
The early cases had been tied to the seafood market but the report could not definitively conclude whether it was the true origin of the virus.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the top United States infectious diseases expert, said he would like to see the report's raw information first before deciding about its credibility.
Zhao, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told reporters Monday: "I can not help but ask, when will the U.S.be as open and transparent as China on the epidemic and origin-tracing issues? It's not. This group of experts only saw what the Chinese government wanted them to see", he said.
A handful of academic papers have been published, and several withdrawn, arguing SARS-CoV-2 appeared instantly adapted to infecting humans and suggested it may have been engineered in a laboratory studying SARS-CoV-1, responsible for the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, or the HIV virus.
"Further data and studies will be needed to reach more robust conclusions", he added. Their research relied on samples and evidence provided by Chinese officials. And repeated delays in the report's release have raised questions about whether the Chinese side was trying to skew its conclusions.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke about the report during an appearance Sunday on CNN television.
In the 123-page report, the scientists outlined several theories that might explain how the virus first spread to humans.
The WHO declared on January 30, 2020, that COVID-19 constituted an worldwide emergency, its highest level of alert. "And we have pointed to many additional studies that should be conducted from now on". Topping the list was the transmission from bats through another animal, which they said was likely to very likely.
Direct transmission from the original host animal is deemed "possible to likely", while the cold food chain hypothesis, which pins the blame on frozen food or its packing, is called "possible".
In a statement delivered to member states during a briefing on the WHO's long-awaited report into the origins of the pandemic, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, issued a rare rebuke to China. While it is possible an infected animal contaminated the packaging and was brought to Wuhan which then infected humans, the report said the probability is very low.
Woolhouse said it was possible the source of Covid-19 might never be identified. "It's hard to be definitive and rule anything out".
The pandemic has killed almost 2.8 million people worldwide since it first emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, with several countries now battling new waves of infection and being forced to take drastic measures.
Suspicion of China partially underpinned the theory that the virus escaped from a lab in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus was first identified.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday that he did not believe the joint study in China went far enough.
Dr Tedros said all "hypotheses remain on the table".
The report argued there was no record of a virus resembling SARS-CoV-2 in any laboratory before December 2019 and stressed high safety levels at the Wuhan labs.
Research published previous year in the journal Lancet suggested the market may have merely served to further spread the disease rather than being its source.