- China has been reluctant to point out in any way that the lab leak has been the main source of the epidemic from the start
- They objected to a March WHO report that mentioned the leak at all and the final wording, downplaying the possibility, was a compromise between researchers.
- WHO expert: One possible hypothesis is that the laboratory worker was infected in the field when samples were taken
- The World Health Organization is currently conducting a re-investigation to examine all possible options, including lab leakage
- The World Health Organization says its goal is not to identify the culprit, but to investigate in the future how the deadly virus spreads
Original article on POLITICO.eu
A senior WHO official investigating the start of the pandemic identifies a version of the laboratory leak hypothesis as a “probable” scenario for how the virus might start spreading.
Peter Ben Mubarak of the World Health Organization said that a laboratory worker may have contracted the virus from a bat while working in the field, putting The conclusions of the official report from March are called into questionwhich he managed himself, and then concluded that the scenario in which the laboratory worker is working injury When working with bat viruses “extremely unlikely”.
Ben Mbarek is not the only one who allows himself to be in doubt. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who refuses to blame individual countries for their handling of the pandemic, said the lab incident was not unusual and accused China of not sharing data since the start of the pandemic.
The World Health Organization recently launched a second phase of research at the start of the pandemic.
As the United States continues to pressure the WHO and China to do more to confirm the source of the virus, the WHO revealed that China and “several other member states” wrote to the organization protesting its conduct in the process. The WHO said these complaints “indicate that testing of origin has been politicized” and that the WHO is “operating under political pressure”.
The rest of the Politico text is below the video
Meanwhile, EU Research Commissioner Maria Gabriel added her voice to a group of scientific experts and government officials and urged China to ‘reconsider’ its decision not to engage in the WHO’s Phase 2 investigation.
The research, which was supposed to be scientifically grounded, is now a political hot potato, putting the scientists involved in the role of arbiters of the global picture of both China and the pandemic.
Compromise and confusion
In a recent interview with Danish TV, Bin Mubarak said that his Chinese counterpart does not want that lab leak theory never mentioned in the March report and that final wording downplaying this possibility was a compromise between researchers.
Benbarek identified a hybrid scenario that combines the theory of leakage with the widely accepted possibility that the virus comes from bats.
One possible hypothesis is that the worker was injured in the field while collecting samples. Bin Mubarak said that this is where the virus is transmitted directly from one bat to another. – In this case, he would be a laboratory worker, not an occasional inhabitant of a village or another person who has regular contact with bats.
The original WHO investigation indicated either direct transmission of the disease from bats to humans or infection of the animal by bats, which in turn infect humans, but it avoided any possible link to two laboratory agents.
In the region, there are two laboratories at the center of the epidemic: the Wuhan Institute of Virology and others, run by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. On December 2, 2019, the CDC Lab moved to its new headquarters approximately 500 meters from the livestock market, which was initially identified as the potential ground zero, Ben Mubarak told TV2.
“That’s when it started, and you know that when you move the lab it disrupts everything,” he said.
The World Health Organization calls on “all governments to depoliticize the issue and cooperate to expedite research into the origins of the epidemic.”
In a statement explaining how politically sensitive the issue has become, the organization said the fact-finding inquiry was not about “blame-making, finger-pointing or political recording”. Instead, the idea is to set an example for identifying sources of future spread of disease in humans and animals, the World Health Organization said.
As the second phase of research begins, the World Health Organization has called on countries to give scientists the time, space and data they need to do their work. “Finding the source of a new virus is a very difficult and time-consuming scientific task,” she wrote.
The second phase is not geographically limited and will cover a range of studies, including preliminary data from early cases – if available to the World Health Organization. China insists there is “political manipulation” about the second investigation, but has dismissed the first investigation as “credible and science-based”.
Tedros may also have a political reason to support US pressure on China – his re-election. Two diplomats told Politico they saw this as a potential move for Tedros’ campaign to win US support as he is running for a second term as director-general of the World Health Organization.
In a separate investigation conducted by US intelligence on the orders of President Joe Biden, nothing definitive was found about the origins of the epidemic, and there remains a split into two theories – whether the epidemic began as a result of a laboratory leak or transmitted from animals to humans.
But as much as China would like it to be, the lab leak theory isn’t going away any time soon.
Editing: Mishaw Bronatowski
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