Coronavirus: WHO scientists invalidate claims of virus leak from a Chinese lab, call it ‘extremely unlikely’
Asia Pacific Focus

Coronavirus: WHO scientists invalidate claims of virus leak from a Chinese lab, call it ‘extremely unlikely’

On Tuesday, a team of WHO scientists, who visited Wuhan to investigate the origin of the Covid-19, said that the theory, which claimed that the virus was developed or came out of a lab in Wuhan, was ‘extremely unlikely’. Peter Ben Embarek, the head of the WHO investigation mission, held a news conference, as the team concluded its four-week visit to Wuhan, and said that the possibility of the virus being leaked out of a lab of Wuhan was highly bleak. He added that the investigation had unveiled new information but nothing drastically different from what was already known before. He emphasized that the scientists needed to do more digging and research to identify the source of the origin of the virus.

The international experts who investigated the Wuhan Institute of Virology, home to various virus samples, right away dismissed the theory that the virus came from a laboratory in China. The theory was internationally promoted by former US President Donald Trump without any evidence. Embarek, a WHO food safety, and animal disease expert hinted that the investigation might move its focus towards South East Asia to reach the root cause of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wuhan, in China’s central Hubei province, was where the first few cases of coronavirus were reported in 2019. Since the virus outbreak, over 106 million people got infected and about 2.3 million lost their lives all across the world.

WHO experts believed that the virus could have originated first in animals before being transmitted into humans, but they were not clear on how the transfer happened. Embarek said that their findings pointed to a “natural reservoir” in bats as a cause of origin for the virus, but they were not sure if it happened only in Wuhan. He said, “The findings suggest that the laboratory incidents hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus to the human population.”

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The verdict by WHO scientists brought a big relief to the Chinese government, which has been battling with invalidating the Covid origin theory involving Wuhan for the past year, Liang Wannian, the head of the Chinese team of scientists, who accompanied the WHO experts, also emphasized that the scientist could not find any virus sample in the Wuhan institute. Wannian added that the scientists observed that the virus was found in different parts of the city, other than the market, which implied that the virus could have originated elsewhere.

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