WHO team in China confirm that COVID-19 came from animals
The WHO team in China have confirmed through their investigation that it is “extremely unlikely” the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan
Back in March, 2020, a team of researchers looked into the origins of COVID-19 and decided that evidence showed this was not a biologically engineered virus originating from a lab in Wuhan. That team commented: “If someone were seeking to engineer a new coronavirus as a pathogen, they would have constructed it from the backbone of a virus known to cause illness.”
Kristian Andersen, PhD, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research and corresponding author on the paper, further explained: “By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes.”
The initial investigation, published in February 2020 with liaison between China and the WHO suggested that: “bats appear to be the reservoir of COVID-19 virus, but the intermediate host(s) has not yet been identified.”
This year-old plan to uncover origins focused heavily on the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, other markets and where those animals went when the market was shut down. They wanted to do highly-focused environmental sampling.
Ever since the moment that COVID became a pandemic, there have been questions about data transparency from Chinese leaders.
Whistle-blowers, like Dr Li Wenliang who raised early awareness of COVID-19 in Wuhan, also raised questions that remain open today. While authorities reported mysterious pneumonia cases in December 2019, he found a different story.
The World Health Organisation team dispatched to analyse how the pandemic broke out in the city of Wuhan concluded their investigations yesterday. At a news conference, Dr Peter Ben Embarek, food safety scientist with the WHO, explained: “Did we change dramatically the picture we had beforehand? I don’t think so. Did we add details? Absolutely.”
He further suggested that it was “extremely unlikely” that the virus leaked from a lab, instead pointing to an animal-to-human transmission scenario.
Did COVID-19 exist before December, 2019?
The team further said that it was unlikely that COVID-19 was circulating before December, 2019, at which time Twitter whistle-blowers started to discuss the mysterious cases of pneumonia that were sweeping through Wuhan.
However, the team were unable to find concrete specifics behind the famous animal-to-human virus jump. They visited the wet market in Huanan, but are still working to understand what animal the virus made the jump from, and to how many hosts.