Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
Published 7: 03 a.m. ET Feb. 9, 2021 | Updated 7: 41 a.m. ET Feb. 9, 2021
A international crew of researchers arrived Thursday in the central Chinese metropolis where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected to behavior a politically soft investigation into its origins, amid uncertainty about whether or no longer Beijing might presumably perchance are trying to end embarrassing discoveries. (Jan. 14)
World Health Group investigators mentioned Tuesday they would no longer pursue research into whether or no longer the coronavirus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China.
Peter Ben Embarek, a meals safety and animal diseases educated, introduced the determination during a press convention to wrap up a search recommendation from by an international crew of WHO consultants to the metropolis where COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019.
Embarek mentioned there was no longer adequate proof to reinforce a hypothesis that the virus escaped from a Chinese biosafety laboratory in Wuhan – the Wuhan Institute of Virology – and that the WHO stood by its previous determination that COVID-19 in all probability entered the human population thru an intermediate animal.
The attach did COVID-19 come from? A bat tucked inside a a ways flung Chinese cave
The WHO crew has spent several weeks on a truth-finding mission in Wuhan. Consultants from 10 nations maintain visited hospitals, research institutes and a flowers and fauna market tied to the outbreak. Nonetheless, the WHO’s fieldwork and assorted actions in Wuhan maintain been closely monitored by Chinese officials and security officers, and Beijing has continuously resisted called for a fully independent investigation into the origins of the virus.
“Did we substitute dramatically the image we had beforehand? I don’t think so,” mentioned Embarek, a Danish nationwide who spoke on behalf of the WHO delegation during the press convention Tuesday. “Did we enhance our understanding? Did we add well-known points to that image? Completely.”
No proof has emerged to reinforce suggestions that the coronavirus originated from a virology lab in Wuhan.
The theory stems from circumstantial proof from several disparate sources, including repeated assertions from frail President Donald Trump and his political backers, who by no formulation cited particular proof. Hypothesis additionally emerged due to the the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s relative proximity to the flowers and fauna market in Wuhan where among the first instances of the virus were traced. A range of high-profile commentators maintain additionally basic that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is China’s most evolved biosafety lab and is identified for its work researching coronaviruses in bats.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology additionally attracted negative consideration thanks to China’s initial unwillingness to portion information about some points of the outbreak.
Embarek mentioned the WHO crew’s work to repeat COVID-19’s origins pointed to a “natural reservoir” in bats. Nonetheless, he mentioned more work wished to be executed because it was unclear whether or no longer this was in Wuhan itself.
Extra: Pfizer expects to slit COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing time by discontinuance to 50% as manufacturing ramps up, efficiencies increaseThe WHO learned no indication the virus was circulating in Wuhan sooner than the first legitimate instances were detected, he mentioned.
Liang Wannian, a member of China’s Health Price who additionally appeared in the press convention, mentioned it be seemingly COVID-19 originated in assorted areas in China sooner than arriving in Wuhan.
The WHO concluded that the Wuhan flowers and fauna market was an dwelling where the virus began spreading all genuine now but it definitely was unable to determine how it first arrived there.
“The market potentially was a setting where that kind of unfold might presumably maintain came about with out misfortune, but that’s no longer your entire legend,” Embarek mentioned.
Peter Daszak, a British-American member of the WHO crew in Wuhan, beforehand instructed USA TODAY that “in peoples’ imaginations there might presumably perchance additionally be this image of 1 individual in a lab in China who drops a petri dish and that in some blueprint results in a big outbreak. It is dependable no longer treasure that. Yearly there are hundreds of thousands of of us going in bat caves and hunting and eating flowers and fauna. It happens every day.
“They are being exposed to bat viruses every day. It simplest takes certainly this kind of of us to head to a metropolis, cough and unfold a scourge,” he mentioned.
Information suggests AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine might presumably perchance additionally no longer protect against South African variant. What else is there to grab concerning the original strain?
Learn or Section this legend: https://www.usatoday.com/legend/news/world/2021/02/09/covid-origin-world-neatly being-organization-end-research-wuhan-lab-theory/4446839001/