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WHO Experts Open to Notion That China Lab Leak Spurred COVID
  • By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter
  • Posted June 9, 2022

WHO Experts Open to Notion That China Lab Leak Spurred COVID

In an about-face from an original report on what might have caused the COVID-19 pandemic, experts enlisted by the World Health Organization said Thursday that they could not discount the "China lab leak" theory.

In contrast, the WHO's initial assessment in 2021 firmly stated it was "extremely unlikely" that a lab accident may have led to the release of the coronavirus.

In this latest report, experts pointed out that "key pieces of data" remain missing in efforts to find out how the pandemic began, and said they would "remain open to any and all scientific evidence that becomes available in the future to allow for comprehensive testing of all reasonable hypotheses."

They noted that lab accidents have triggered some previous outbreaks, so the theory could not be discounted, the Associated Press reported.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese lab, despite a lack of evidence.

In February, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asked senior Chinese government officials for more information, including details about the earliest human cases of COVID-19 in the city of Wuhan, the AP reported.

But the WHO experts said China did not provide any research that assessed the possibility of COVID-19 being a laboratory leak, and also noted that not all studies by Chinese scientists on the virus have been published.

A multi-pronged investigation into COVID-19's origins is needed, including research on the possible role of animals and studies in places where the virus might have first spread, such as the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, according to the WHO team.

More information

Visit the Council on Foreign Relations for more on theories about the pandemic's origins.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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