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WHO traceability report: inconclusive, further investigation of “laboratory leakage” is required

WHO traceability report: inconclusive, further investigation of “laboratory leakage” is required

On April 7, 2020, on the eve of the resumption of outbound traffic in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, people wearing protective clothing walk past Hankou Railway Station.

The World Health Organization on Thursday (June 9) released the first report of the organization’s new traceability agency. The group’s latest investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is inconclusive due to missing data from China, the report said. The report said further investigation was needed on the laboratory leak theory. Some media said that the report may activate the accountability of the WHO. Virus experts pointed out that the WHO should review valid evidence related to laboratory leaks.

The Associated Press reported that more than two years after the new crown epidemic emerged in China and at least 6.3 million people died in the global pandemic, the World Health Organization has recommended in its strongest terms yet that laboratory accidents may be to blame. Dig deeper.

Available data suggest that the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has a zoonotic origin, meaning it spreads between animals in its natural environment, according to a WHO expert panel report, in line with a WHO visit in 2021. China later came to a similar conclusion. But the report said it was still impossible to identify the animals that infected humans and where the infection occurred.

China reported its first case in December 2019, but the WHO still lacks data on this China, meaning it’s impossible to pinpoint exactly how the virus first spread to humans.

“At this point, the strongest evidence remains of zoonotic transmission,” said Marietjie Venter, chair of the WHO panel and a virologist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. “However, the precursor virus found in bats is certainly not close enough to be a virus that spreads to humans.”

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The report was written by the Scientific Advisory Group on the Origin of Novel Pathogens (SAGO), a group of experts from the United States, China, and 25 other countries.

According to the report, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent letters to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Health Minister Ma Xiaowei twice in February this year, requesting information on various factors including “laboratory assumptions”. It was not immediately clear whether Tedros had received a response.

The authors of the report said China provided some data. The data included blood sample data from 40,000 Chinese blood donors in Wuhan between September and December 2019.

The WHO said the report was the first of several expected by the advisory group to develop a better framework for investigating the origins of future outbreaks.

Reuters reports that the origins of the pandemic have been politicized. Scientists say it’s important to determine what’s going on to prevent outbreaks of similar infectious diseases.

The Associated Press reported that the WHO advisory group pointed out that “because of past laboratory accidents that have caused some outbreaks, highly politicized theories cannot be ignored.”

Associated Press: Report could activate WHO accountability:

“The report could activate accusations that the WHO was too open to interpretation by the Chinese government in the early days of the outbreak, which eventually killed millions, sickened millions, forced dozens of countries to lock down, and upended the world economy.”

While the WHO was full of praise for Chinese President Xi Jinping in the early days of the outbreak, some top WHO insiders were frustrated with China, an Associated Press investigation found. They are also disturbed by how China is trying to suppress research into the origins of COVID-19.

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The WHO advisory group report said there was no new information available on the possible transmission of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) to humans through laboratory events, “considering all reasonable scientific data” to assess this. The possibility “still matters”.

Panelists from Brazil, China, and Russia opposed calls for further investigation of the “lab leak” theory.

Beijing has been vehemently opposed to the hypothesis that the new coronavirus could escape from the Wuhan Institute of Virology or other research institutions studying the coronavirus, and not only that, but Chinese officials have promoted without scientific evidence that the virus originated in the United States, or was imported through frozen fish. to the theory of China.

The report marks a sharp reversal from the U.N. health agency’s initial assessment of the origins of the pandemic, the Associated Press said. The 2021 WHO-China report called the laboratory spill hypothesis “highly unlikely” and suggested that the most plausible hypothesis was via animal spill.

That report was widely criticized after its publication when WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it did not provide a “widely enough” assessment of the lab leak theory and expressed disappointment that Chinese officials had restricted access.

A later U.S. government intelligence report said both hypotheses were plausible, despite a preference for natural origin.

The latest report also lays out a series of recommendations for further research that could be helpful for traceability. The recommendations include finding information about the earliest cases in Wuhan, China, and further research around the Wuhan animal market, which was identified early as a potential site for the virus to spread to humans.

Virus author: Has WHO reviewed the analysis of evidence related to laboratory origins?

Alina Chan, a co-author of the book “Viral,” which was rated by The Wall Street Journal as “the most comprehensive case of known laboratory leak theory,” said, “It’s good to see the world. The WHO advisory group is open to both origin theories but says their reports are still biased.

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“They admitted that they did not assess any raw data, only the information provided to SAGO through reports or presentations published by invited scientists. So the question is whether they invited any scientists to provide information related to the laboratory origins of Covid-19. Analysis of the available evidence?”

In written comments to the media, Zeng Yujia noted that the advisory group continues to investigate the Chinese government’s proposed cold chain origin of the new coronavirus, “despite the lack of scientific evidence that this SARS-like route is possible,” she said. pointed out.

Zeng Yujia pointed out that some of the research recommendations made in the report are no longer feasible. “Even if we can magically go back to a year ago, it is still too late to check whether animal farms and traders have antibodies to the new coronavirus.”

Zeng Yujia proposed a new path for two theoretical comparisons for future WHO traceability reports, “I would like to see a systematic side-by-side comparison of the steps taken to investigate natural and laboratory origins. What samples are missing in each investigation or what? Data? What challenges are preventing the collection and storage of these samples and data? What raw data and samples can SAGO request in and outside China to better understand the origins of the epidemic?”

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