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Scientists urge WHO to do more research into origins of coronavirus


A group of scientists, in an open letter, asked the World Health Organization to order a new investigation into the origins of Covid-19 or coronavirus. According to them, a new investigation should seek origins in sources other than those of animal origin.

This was the third open letter from this group of more than 20 signatories. They offer specific steps on what a new probe should consider. Ensuring that a team is free from “unnecessary presence” of government officials while undertaking the study, a mandate for wide access to records, samples and data, and the removal of veto powers from the process of selection of members are among the suggestions.

Read also | Unless the true origin of the coronavirus is identified, another Chinese pandemic is in sight

Earlier, a joint mission including Chinese scientists and the WHO conducted a study whose purpose was set to probe the zoonotic source of the virus. According to them, a laboratory incident was the least likely hypothesis. They surmised that the coronavirus likely spread from bats to humans via other animals. Because the focus was limited, “other theories didn’t receive the same attention and the team didn’t fully investigate the labs,” trip co-lead Peter Ben Embarek said after the trip. publication of a report in March.

Subsequently, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the probe failed to adequately analyze the possibility of a laboratory accident before concluding that most likely, the spread of the pathogen was from bats to humans via another animal. He also said he was ready to deploy additional missions involving experts. But this will require the cooperation of China.

Read also | WHO postpones report on origin of coronavirus, expected to be released next week

The first Covid-19 outbreak site was identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan, home to a high-security virus lab, and that proximity had sparked former US President Donald Trump and other speculation about the possibility of a leak from said laboratory. laboratory. Denying any link, China has put forward an alternative theory that the virus may have entered the country via frozen food imports.

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