Health 12:05 17/07/2021 World

WHO chief calls for ‘audits’ of Wuhan labs in Covid-19 inquiry

The World Health Organization has said that the second stage of an investigation into the origins of Covid-19 should include further studies in China and lab audits, the Guardian reports.

In a closed-door briefing to member states on Friday, WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus proposed five priorities for the next phase of the investigation.

They included “audits of relevant laboratories and research institutions operating in the area of the initial human cases identified in December 2019”, according to a copy of his opening statement provided by the WHO.

He also suggested investigators should focus on “studies prioritising geographic areas with the earliest indication of circulation of Sars CoV-2”, the virus that causes Covid-19.

And he called for more studies of animal markets in and around the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the disease was first detected.

The WHO was only able to send a team of independent, international experts to Wuhan in January, more than a year after Covid-19 first surfaced there in late 2019, to help Chinese counterparts probe the pandemic’s origins.

They published a report in late March, but drew no firm conclusions about how the virus first jumped to humans.

Instead they ranked several hypotheses according to how likely they believed they were, finding that it was most likely the virus jumped from bats to humans via an intermediate animal. An alternative theory involving the virus leaking from a laboratory was deemed “extremely unlikely”.

The investigation faced criticism for lacking transparency and access, and for not evaluating the lab-leak theory more deeply.



Source Panorama.am
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