Daily Management Review

Origin Of Covid-19 Was ‘Most Likely’ From Animals To Humans, Says WHO


Origin Of Covid-19 Was ‘Most Likely’ From Animals To Humans, Says WHO
The novel coronavirus “most likely” first originated in animal prior to getting spread among humans, claimed an international team of scientists led by the World Health Organization. The team of scientists also dismissed the theories that the disease Covid-19 had been leaked or accidentally gone out from a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The scientists had been tasked with searching for clues to the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic in China and had been working for the past four weeks in Wuhan where the disease had first emerged. This probe into the origin of the virus started after months of deliberations between the WHO and China about how to go about the investigations. The delay in the investigations has also raised questions about the reliability of the findings that the team of scientists make ultimately.
Hospitals, laboratories and markets, including the suspected Huanan Seafood Market, the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan Center for Disease Control laboratory were visited by the investigators.
It was also expected that the researcher making the visit, which has been shrouded in secrecy, would be speaking to the early responders of the outbreak of the disease in China as well as some of the first patients of the disease who have survived. Before beginning to visit local sites, the team completed two weeks of quarantine.
A crossover into humans from an intermediary species was the “most likely” pathway for Covid, said Dr. Peter Ben Embarek, the WHO’s food safety and animal disease specialist and chairman of the investigation team while talking to reporters. He added that this hypothesis will “require more studies and more specific (and) targeted research”.
There was no evidence found of large Covid-19 outbreaks in Wuhan or elsewhere prior to December 2019, in the initial findings of the investigation. Ben Embarek however said that the team had found a wider evidence of Covid-19 circulation outside the Huanan Seafood Market in the month of December.
While describing the findings of the investigations after nearly a month of meetings and site visits as being a “work in progress”, he added it had not yet been possible for the team to pinpoint the animal intermediary host for the coronavirus. 
“In terms of understanding what happened in the early days of December 2019, did we change dramatically the picture we had beforehand? I don’t think so,” Ben Embarek said. “Did we improve our understanding? Did we add details to that story? Absolutely,” he said.
The WHO has however refrained from assuring the investigations would lead to a definitive conclusion about the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the origins of the Ebola outbreak which was first identified in the 1970s is yet to be identified,  the origins of SARS was first identified after more than a decade.
Scientists hope that identification of how the outbreak started could be found by gathering of information about the earliest known cases of the coronavirus which where the disease was first detected in late 2019 in Wuhan.