On Monday, the World Health Organisation said that their international team is ready to study the claims of COVID-19 Virus Origin in China.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “The WHO advance team that travelled to China has now concluded their mission to lay the groundwork for further joint efforts to identify the virus’ origins. Epidemiological studies will begin in Wuhan to identify the potential source of infection of the early cases.” The two parties have reportedly decided the terms of reference.
According to him, the ground for further, longer-term studies of the ‘virus origin in China’ will be based on evidence and hypothesis produced from their work. The investigation aims to ascertain the reasons behind the origins of the virus and how it may have jumped from animals to humans.
According to Dr Michael Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies chief, the study will help in understanding the “gaps in the epidemiological landscape”. He said that WHO will assess what studies have to be conducted and what data have to be collected. He also informed that the two-person advance team is still in China, and had not been “debriefed” yet.
He said, “The real trick is to go to the human clusters that occurred first and then to work your way back systematically looking for that first signal at which the animal human species barrier was crossed. Once you understand where that the barrier was breached, then you move into the studies in a more systematic way on the animal side”.
WHO commented that it had concluded the extensive discussions with their Chinese counterparts to discuss the terms of reference during the three-week visit, without disclosing what they are. The deliberations were held via video with virologists and other scientists in Wuhan including the Wuhan Institute of Virology. U.S. President Donald Trump in April announced that he has evidence to prove that the Wuhan lab was actually the origin of the virus, a claim which China refuses to accept as true.
Dr Deborah Birx, the White House top coronavirus adviser who commented on Sunday that infections in the U.S have entered a “new phase” said, “It’s not our job to tell the U.S. what it should be doing at sub-national level. The state-based planning and implementation guided by the national scientists seems to be (on) the right path. The difficulty for us all is sometimes, we know the right path. The difficulty is choosing to walk it.”