Daily Management Review

WHO Team In China Dismiss Covid-19 'Lab Leak' Theory


WHO Team In China Dismiss Covid-19 'Lab Leak' Theory
The theory that the novel coronaries had leaked from a lab in Wuhan in China was dismissed by a team of scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO) after a 12-day investigation into the origins of the pandemic in China.
The team has also said that there will be no recommendations for further investigation into the theory that the Covid-19 causing virus had accidentally leaked from labs conducting coronavirus research in China, said Peter Ben Embarek, the Danish WHO food safety expert leading the international team, according to Washington Post.
The team of scientists had reached the conclusion about the lab leak theory based on the judgment was based on "long, frank, open discussions with researchers and management" at institutions including the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), Embarek told reporters.
"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.
The decision of the team to dismiss the lab leak theory of the coronavirus that caused the pandemic was a unanimous decision taken by the WHO team's 17 members, 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, according to reports.
The team also found no evidence of the circulation of the coronavirus in any of the animal species in China, said the global health body.
Four possible hypotheses on the manner in which the Covid-19 causing virus spread were stated by Embarek, but he also stressed 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.
Talking about the origins of the virus, the WHO team said one of the possibilities was a direct zoonotic spill over. Other possibilities included introduction of the virus into human through intermediary host species or through the food chain including frozen food products or surface transmission. The fourth possibility according to the WHO team was the laboratory-related incident.
A cluster of patients with pneumonia like symptoms emerged in Wuhan in China in December 2019 which is believed to be the beginning of the pandemic. Doctors and scientists identified the virus to be a new coronavirus strain which was later named as Covid-19. That was the beginning of the global pandemic which caused illness among more than 90 million people while killing more than 1.9 million throughout the world.