7-months later, WHO team jets to Wuhan to find Covid-19 origin
By Charles Joseph
Seven months after the novel coronavirus broke out in Wuhan, China, the Worls Health Organisation (WHO) has sent a team led by animal experts to the Chinese province to find the root cause of the virus.
The advance team which is already on their way to China are to organise an investigation into the origins of the virus which sparked the global pandemic, a spokeswoman said on Friday.
The team is to ascertain if and how the virus was transmitted from animals to humans, what animal it actually came from and if there was an intermediary, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said.
The virus is believed to have emerged in a wholesale market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late 2019, since then closed, after jumping the species barrier from the animal kingdom to infect humans.
“The two WHO experts, specialists in animal health and epidemiology, will work with Chinese scientists to determine the scope and itinerary of the investigation,’’ Harris said, declining to name them.
She told a briefing that they have gone, they are in the air now, they are the advance party that is to work out the scope.
“This would involve negotiations on issues including the composition of the fuller team.
“One of the big issues that everybody is interested in, and of course that’s why we’re sending an animal health expert, is to look at whether or not it jumped from species to a human and what species it jumped from.
“We know it’s very, very similar to the virus in the bat, but did it go through an intermediate species? This is a question we all need answered,” Harris said.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo have said it may have originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, although they have presented no evidence for this and China strongly denies it.
Scientists and U.S. intelligence agencies have said it emerged in nature.
According to Lawrence Gostin, a professor at Georgetown Law in Washington, D.C., if there was wrongdoing and we may never know that for sure, it will be very hard to uncover.
“The wet market was closed immediately.
“There is no independent record, evaluation or investigation of a potential zoonotic source, so it will be very hard to go back and piece together,” he said.