Published: 26th May 2021
WHO scientists likely to restudy theory that COVID originated from China's Wuhan lab
The WHO report's annexe contains multiple data points providing an intriguing insight into China's evolving knowledge of the virus and the likely timing of its emergence
World Health Organisation (WHO) is expected to restudy the "dominant theory" that the SARS-CoV-2 probably originated and spread across the world from China's Wuhan lab, according to reports.
According to CNN, previously overlooked Chinese data on extensive screening of animals for coronavirus around the time the pandemic erupted is among several areas identified for further study by WHO scientists investigating the origins of the virus, as per a source.
The records are contained in a nearly 200-page annexe posted alongside the WHO panel's March report that received little attention among global experts at the time. "But the data may add weight to calls from China's critics for more transparency and to the WHO team's desire to return to the country for further studies," it said.
However, no date has been set for the team's return to China, but the source said any future visit to the country, where the virus emerged in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, in late 2019, may involve "smaller groups supporting specific studies first." A larger group, similar to the 17 international experts that visited in January, might then follow up, the source added.
The WHO report's annexe contains multiple data points providing an intriguing insight into China's evolving knowledge of the virus and the likely timing of its emergence.
It provides details of China's storage and destruction of positive COVID-19 samples from humans; a significant influenza outbreak that emerged in December 2019, at the same time as the virus; and the revelation that the first people are known to have contracted the virus had contact with a total of 28 separate food and animal markets in December.
The WHO team investigating the origins of coronavirus visited the Hubei Center for animal disease control and prevention in Wuhan, on February 2, 2021, as per CNN.
Meanwhile, the former head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that circumstantial evidence of COVID-19 originating in a lab in China's Wuhan continues to grow as researchers are yet to prove that the virus jumped from an animal to humans, as per a report in The Hill newspaper.
US former state secretary Mike Pompeo also claimed that every piece of evidence points to a leak of coronavirus from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). He also said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) must be held "accountable" for it.