WHO dismisses 'lab leak' theory of COVID-19 origin in China

Following a 12-day visit to China to probe the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan, a team of World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday dismissed the theory of a 'lab leak' of the virus.

ANI | Beijing | Updated: 10-02-2021 08:58 IST | Created: 10-02-2021 08:58 IST
WHO dismisses 'lab leak' theory of COVID-19 origin in China
WHO experts speaking at the press conference on Tuesday.. Image Credit: ANI

Following a 12-day visit to China to probe the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan, a team of World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday dismissed the theory of a 'lab leak' of the virus. According to Washington Post, Peter Ben Embarek, the Danish WHO food safety expert leading the international team, said his group will not recommend further investigation into the theory that the virus accidentally leaked from labs conducting coronavirus research.

Embarek told reporters that the judgment was based on "long, frank, open discussions with researchers and management" at institutions including the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). "They're the best ones to dismiss the claims and provide answers to all the questions," he said.

"Our initial findings suggest that introduction through an intermediary host species is the most likely passway and one that will require more studies and more specific targeted research ... The findings suggest that a laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus into the human population," the WHO expert added. Peter Daszak, a British member of the WHO mission in Wuhan who has collaborated with the WIV through his EcoHealth Alliance nonprofit, said on Twitter that the decision to downplay the lab theory was a unanimous judgment among the WHO team's 17 members, reported Washington Post.

The global health body on Tuesday said that there is no evidence of coronavirus circulation in any animal species in China. Embarek stated that four hypotheses on how the virus spread but reiterated that the "laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus into the human population".

"It has not been possible to pinpoint any animal species as a potential reservoir for this disease, and they indicate that currently and also back in 2019 it does not look like there was the circulation of the virus in any animal species in the country," he said. The four key hypotheses are: direct zoonotic spillover; introduction through intermediary host species; food chain, frozen food products, surface transmission; and finally a laboratory-related incident, Sputnik quoted him as saying.

The investigation by the WHO was undertaken after a cluster of patients exhibiting pneumonia-like symptoms emerged in Wuhan in December 2019, a new coronavirus was identified to be causing the disease, which later became known as COVID-19, and triggered the global pandemic that infected over 90 million people and killed more than 1.9 million, reported Sputnik. After the outbreak, then US President Donald Trump blamed China for the global COVID-19 pandemic by calling the new coronavirus "Chinese Virus". (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Tracking Fintech during COVID-19: Harnessing power of technology

Its abundantly clear now that as fintech cements its place in the financial sector, accelerated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, it could open the sector to new possibilities by harnessing the power of technology to deliver financial ...

Tectonic turns: How technology shaped healthcare over the decades

Tracing an episodic evolution, with technology at the interface of human and his health....

World Water Day sees crises of inequality in countries both rich and poor

... ...

Privacy and data protection: Reviewing notable policy frameworks

The evolved privacy principles and the resulting legislation across the world primarily aim to force the data collector to define the purpose for which the data is being collected along with the need to obtain explicit consent for the said ...

Videos

Latest News

Kyrgyzstan likely to support switch to presidential rule in referendum

Voters in Kyrgyzstan are likely to support handing greater powers to the presidency in a referendum on Sunday, given high public trust in President Sadyr Japarov, a populist politician catapulted into the post from a prison cell last year. ...

Ramsey Clark, attorney general under Johnson, dies at 93

Ramsey Clark, the attorney general in the Johnson administration who became an outspoken activist for unpopular causes and a harsh critic of US policy, has died. He was 93.Clark, whose father, Tom Clark, was attorney general and US Supreme ...

Golf-No longer the hunted, Rose can hunt Matsuyama at Masters

It would be a stretch to say Justin Rose was happy to relinquish the lead late in the third round at the Masters on Saturday, but perhaps there was a silver lining in someone else taking on the pressure of being the hunted one.After leading...

Trump tells Republican donors he'll help win Congress in 2022

Former President Donald Trump vowed to help Republicans win seats in Congress in 2022 elections but lashed out at two top party figures, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and former Vice President Mike Pence, at a donor retreat on Satu...

Give Feedback