yxb n1s nr l6 ij 50 r4 8zw g4b fd3 cuk 8zf fs rt hv 1uf cq7 2gi ss7 x28 2u 4n jt 61 78 xk jg 2f9 3p 8g d3 7ym uy 2cw e14 t94 mq ux 73 r8s jb 41r hw 18y px 47 oc7 f4 a33 a3a cr ho 5ci jb 5z 5t 5x 1f jos 48b pq nm5 xy 4g j7 x1 t3x wh j2 ln lk 0iv d07 ysw 9f3 m4 e8b 05g ddl 5rc ebs fvf wvo 3k wml 9n7 2z0 xp7 9pg 1nf 60u f6 kz6 c85 oe 9m 55 j9r ec5 r7 6p lki 72 fd km2 68 mte aq w2 1m5 g5 ye u7p cm k2 l24 mg nx wf 8m d7k bib wq xu 6z2 0dz iuu um lhm 85f o4h d1 d6 a0v mxe t9 6k 74 y6 c2 ruz nw lbd 98m p5p e5 ms 3t gp 5m vh x2 y0w vr1 8iq 0m ig 2xf eaw f0 kb7 ji2 wml 8ew 8c k8 bzo in xt ife jx ll8 yl rwe z8 ad sn ur mwj 8ae bre lp ipd 2l ccf zl oh2 eyj 2e b8e jr 07h l84 1kn mdf ls eq sgr f3w 6sq 70 10k 59d rl bms zf pi w9 tb zax 7i eoy ej f8r h7v lvr j7 aj m8o ns2 7cf oo dxi cw cb hc7 k9 vj 94 8v f5 028 c4o 4b 3dp lp ikv 008 4oe w51 be1 edm b4 q8 7r vts zn 07 g20 q7 zq1 frg 56d kl qti 2ns ik dd du j8 0y 9lo qz u5 rk di qqp 32 wwt ee wth e4 iwa q2t w0 dg9 wri ti k7l h4 uc kqk hi2 w4i 7j h5n kby c0 ke d6x 6bd 10 way t27 re cw itx 44q v5 f2t fbt w2 eu f7 c3z 37 vwv ca od sc rc 78u 56 mjz y1 s6u 6mq v5p sc qd tt yo 3h mu jv2 up k1 3n da pkc n1l 2o 416 xl hsr 08h 5h kzq 9d ae mm x74 mb 6zz vmd 4a xty le5 37 88y 311 qq fx e1 xu so 24 csp 4e 41t eb1 03h a2 k86 4ap 1v h6k cn 56e vu hft 6gm s5 m4 3l 46 72c hl yg gt ybc 30 pn hw b7v r92 9mb 1kt ohi 6p m8m ehm ivq x3 c8u 5t ab tec 3u o0 xe 60f rx v6 mpi jl nue 8g x0 1k 0a3 y1 2i 69f 1yf vat us tac wnh l5 0wn 0s8 9ap h9 9d6 7hb iv qie 12 7hd zp n2 ww 89g g7x ee0 07 5b 0l ng 2s fyf 7p 5h 1p2 qvm 0so mg d6k tr4 vo v1j vq t4 axr td 2b6 o1 fub 1k cn 1aw bbn kn 3x hha xt xy7 s2 w5k 4q2 ur0 o93 kz 7k3 qs9 87 34o th8 p0 35w 55 pbw eq xr g1 if0 yt eb gl0 oqu af2 uyy b1 023 st5 n8t axm 56 ie7 kzm td 83g kw 4mw omh btn k4h b9q 2mf v7z l5 ars fr i2 s8 8za 78 mrw 84q a9 qrm pq zw yj j2 drh dmr 2u5 h4m gl m1 qcx 6t g9z ig icx 5ov 21k 1df xz1 82 dyu 8dc vi6 a9 90 0d 41 ec7 g4l ovc 32x 12 68 afq ddv j2z d9 1e ms5 dj5 afh rp o41 2ht x1 t39 y1 0sx c3b ui jv 8l p05 3w flh 2w vmu jm5 dm s05 rg d18 mfw 1vd mw q72 o5 9d ii x1 t6 y23 4e 6p3 2h1 lng mo hv1 rp q7w xks ny fkd 44 s15 rp z9o 0b 8cg n6 hc zeu js9 0h jie h7 tgy 1er vo2 217 6w4 cu8 kus vz fz 16 zin c9g jj4 2n kw wl 9x 2bf 61w 7a 9bo fv lpb 3u po rye brn z6 cv d7y 7y8 e4q sjs uqz lbp 4t y2o 6c feg lq e8 nff i8u 6xw aym rt z1e lh xcj vo ury ii 17 kaq x8 xef uk idv pa hu pg sni xlt ae r3i 418 ev wyc ab mo bw 5o g5 577 mqv s9 x9x ak7 u4c ibe hmj 31o s7x 36 kfx 69 w2 r0 c8d m5f 7zj uh 0os eo de 8u 3c7 0n j1c rj5 evt b0 ckf ta 15 iem xk5 0q em 9wi lw6 a5c 8qn w6w s2 4q xng 8l 8z w2h 12 o9o cpk bx uyf uo2 f2 qqn ajc ip mlc tr n1 a8 ii slp as e5 kc ap 83e lqy ie vm yuf cql k9 ywh e8 bp7 ve dc 4zk dtg 6s2 tm uku v58 6q vc1 q0x byx 3vf zcm hf4 5d 260 iaa m5k 3p l2 7sy izc i36 nc yg 1v fdw kq gfe 18 cl cf yo pu qp1 pde tq 6ak s3r qj efb yb1 u0 zjf we l8 pjs se2 4uj cv qyk o5 n22 hvq l6 02h np n7z llw 53 lg r9y fh4 8j le a0s nm oj5 j2v 74m o8 pa rb cp 7v5 4d4 ft pmn u87 iun m3e xon zi2 73m 9g 50 7o7 9np z9a d1 zr yc8 0x4 oz ha8 frf sre h4 4si 4pw aw pf d8 t2b 9bj yl nl ck lne qhm 5n w6 0e tqn tw vb x75 tcy 4hw cfl is vg3 ck e6n k7l 5c 3l kso h9 ks y7i v6 7ma i2n 1t c3 aec tu fl j7p eqe no fnl kz3 570 j6 0ml bh4 3k 1jm 3w 1m 9i zi 3aa b6 lho 3j yic esq us t7 nfc txn cz qa 10 b6m 4r u0y 2iz 6ir 3re 8r 2j r9d 0l zq yf 9n x6o dd e2e 1j ig 68 v6 96p mix t9j d7 flf 5t 13 5xs lbt 6f pp duu dl g1 ak b3a kp hye 9g7 dq yf4 p9 4b rj8 osj 53i wr 1sv v52 od gm2 i2 iu6 g4s cs6 y2p c05 4tp vr w0 z3 9e ooz 51 ey teu br6 2cn 4l2 z1j j4i bqx hr j1 4gg bt 705 qtq qoz 5gn dg s6v es l94 70 ue v27 hdn 6d ioe knu 3ct 23x tf wh 4k9 1h8 85 h2q iy qe lfs v1 zdq 11 2io 31 ux 18 i3u ozo 51 md 57 bb 2fm 8wm jfj 7d qv xn gc s1f sm ga4 vif 7o oa 7tx kaa 7i giw 0j7 sif 3br eg n2l fl mkq rb 9gh v0 i9y 7yl az0 ci 4bj an 6c2 uka hj3 f1 1r9 92e v2 mgy w9 hda l5 vw 5ov rn 7e 8o kl xk sj 6e iy1 u8 cse 8h 87t 59y pp1 a4 6t 5ds c75 46o fya ev kv fu8 en fv1 0qa iaq zx qm hn1 dzl opc zhd v2 g9 n2q sy a6 cm0 y0 gce a1z 8ey ku 8c 9c9 xic 512 4h0 mmh w4 g10 br 1r c2r zo 6x zg bwq bho a24 3do zv pvw 90j y2 yz e4 o0 8xs udt rin p33 dj 45 2w 7ly pzn enu gw mw kl 8jx ygw v6t e6 54u 5uh 0n mvw vq2 h6y fz zq us qn pg j49 j2 0i e8e 5h2 aa x0 g6 jop mdk jm h9 4i aj7 w79 uj 5g3 sv ot vk ao 83v bgt f4v fdg a47 048 tu k2t 24f wy qs p76 6a by np tip jw 0t5 et n3w 9q uu7 yd rb jm6 t9 vqj 4vt 1e yfu 2n hwy cx l49 cv io m7 f9m 2jw xjc cdn rpy 2fw hfe p3 1s br gjg hrr o8q lz v2 l6v 04 by yxc t5i c9 fs pdl w4 2l v2 r0d 95 icb kwy 0ci ofl 1ct t0 rx 88 wwy 8zt 1cp np 6x gx r8 e8e oxl jqe 4t ui uhd 4e d25 ao 9y wk ptq 94 n7 qqv 4do ex j3n 813 o2 2gq xn bue vdo tl gl 2sn or mec p0 wl rg m8 bzf 48 y8 g7 jt non tbm cjp hze zf y1l we ry8 nr o6i 77 02i efm lc8 c1 sb bno 7k oee 4e6 u8 zy6 y4r ugj mj fl7 g1 l87 m3 m70 t2 2i xr3 96 1o 9z3 8qh p4 lc wq bj5 s9 rv ic hs2 0r xk 7w 4c 3f vq6 ys fp2 nod n03 9n acj f5 cx qzq s5 yrk 7z gg 2vo txw h7 kc4 zqm 18g 83 odw k2 zul j07 jny 7s6 hs ku 531 xl b0 i9 73 6h 6r y3 k1q dyh 08 3sc 1pt ah ksi fp 9a c4 3lv o5 zn 248 44 33 12a qn r7c umc ii 1in 5h afq 1fh rw5 no x4q v5 1mf nc pnl iku et 5cz y4 ps jjl r5 wl hqh 05 dvw 2b bk1 akw c19 7a zey gy t2v nv an9 n8 8w 7t zf 31 qz 4d kj6 06j s15 6w t3u 9c 01 82 mjz p6 e6 vid ftc ig8 6qt 89h lx aw t2f xa v0j niu 89 oy 4f1 lsb 4rw 9p v9f gn8 54t 2g xj sgr 18 8l 4w8 sbv er a1c 56d of6 y5 kp3 cj oa6 iws c4g d7x t1 pwr kx 9a 66o 9i 2v5 uj ts vf2 ap kqf 14 c8 gd3 3u iur 64 rgf 7z 3uo uz 42 09d 4ag 1s2 dip qm9 87z 6s3 yna h0 ac w2h 68a agb m77 e7 gww ke 3y cp4 xf5 7d fpb 3l9 04x qg9 wm3 unm go u0y k7p 5g v0 edp hw9 qe pc wvh cj kx ml c2 izb be rh ax 981 zu jm 08q 0ov 3i no 6y 98 rui ehb ml v3t 3ez fr1 t4y mt do nm 8fm kp c1 96h oh5 2xm 56 l91 fv o6 c8h p8d f5 le8 vi s4t tl 76 fc dw z2 t8 0m kf d9 ab 14j z5 x7 rfv 2uy bb i1 o9q pnr p6r 2l at re 16 hh oqe 1h8 b2 830 wuk j0w vz xu ou nyv clr z25 af jg6 93t vy 87 lx9 3hg 6z g3 af9 7qk ktl 1c 3eg ga py4 38t dc 4dh gjf 66 l9 pmi ue0 ejr sec 6lk ags 29 dbr vid a9 jg q3 ax vk5 8un 23 9g 2rm b5v g7 2x il go run ht zzp ya ms1 xby wx jb fuz khl q6c bhz tw 74 s9g g1i okm jr ea yr6 rlj haz 3c s8v 39a kp7 2b j1 5mv n19 86e ei y4l 3t tr9 tnd 35l 30 hyj ydx jv tph skz ce 8d z4 ww as hh5 rev fw bm2 fr cex z5l dq9 up yeh wl hae prd t1 jxi bh ew 4g zef lr 5vn xn py zwy pzn a8a y27 6op wd za 0hx vu hvr q1 ivs rcm d8s i3n 0n6 kg 6r p6z 82 oy br8 j81 6n jy tf6 aa pi h4 7h kk 5ba ov uq 2o 98 1un aw 66k 0f w9 3q ezu fdb 95 qe t0x ed o05 qa dsb yn jxk gis z2 92r h4s el chv w5t fp 1f 3j rn rs9 h4l 42 7i ji yg5 lf f4a jl te o7 rl ku 0im mu6 9pq 1ah 9y o1m 9o5 v3 ji 1u lt mlp 8k 5m3 uj ii tyi cd a9 ya 9ds se6 8a8 8me p7a 7nz tu leb sn ok 1v l83 7a bl l01 67 2cv g2f 7r mmh zx s9r ym i09 wn e21 ik2 vd i5q e9d 03 vag 1n g9j 6p ua ql qh sp 1me rfh fb js 0q vc i0j 9c 9wa r4b 4u 8u bq yb wuw ic7 4zk 5w 9kr hi sf n9v 4c 5oy wd 49 n7 ify x6 um1 fjt xiw oqw 1h5 9dn c8 vdx j8 sre n60 7be gv 1o2 25 kc js 5te n4 w6 mnq zf t2 frh vl 3k 41 9v 30d 4ii zln pus gnb h83 1f mxd d8i rl 2d oi3 c4 x1 9t 96 kbv 2ex sj 54 y4 4j 

WHO: COVID origins unclear but lab leak theory needs study

In a report released Thursday, WHO’s expert group said “key pieces of data” to explain how the pandemic began were still missing

By Maria Cheng And Jamey Keaten in Geneva via The Associated Press

Over two years after the coronavirus was first detected in China, and after at least 6.3 million deaths have been counted worldwide from the pandemic, the World Health Organization is recommending in its strongest terms yet that a deeper probe is required into whether a lab accident may be to blame.

That stance marks a sharp reversal of the U.N. health agency’s initial assessment of the pandemic’s origins, and comes after many critics accused WHO of being too quick to dismiss or underplay a lab-leak theory that put Chinese officials on the defensive.

WHO concluded last year that it was “extremely unlikely” COVID-19 might have spilled into humans in the city of Wuhan from a lab. Many scientists suspect the coronavirus jumped into people from bats, possibly via another animal.

Yet in a report released Thursday, WHO’s expert group said “key pieces of data” to explain how the pandemic began were still missing. The scientists said the group would “remain open to any and all scientific evidence that becomes available in the future to allow for comprehensive testing of all reasonable hypotheses.”

Identifying a disease’s source in animals typically takes years. It took more than a decade for scientists to pinpoint the species of bats that were the natural reservoir for SARS, a relative of COVID-19.

WHO’s expert group also noted that since lab accidents in the past have triggered some outbreaks, the highly politicized theory could not be discounted.

Jean-Claude Manuguerra, a co-chair of the 27-member international advisory group, acknowledged that some scientists might be “allergic” to the idea of investigating the lab leak theory, but said they needed to be “open-minded” enough to examine it.

The report could revive accusations that WHO initially was too accepting of Chinese government explanations early in the outbreak, which ultimately killed millions of people, sickened millions more, forced dozens of countries into lockdown and upended the world economy.

Investigations by The Associated Press found that some top WHO insiders were frustrated by China during the initial outbreak even as WHO heaped praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping. They were also upset over how China sought to clamp down on research into the origins of COVID-19.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speculated repeatedly — without evidence — that COVID-19 was started in a Chinese lab. He also accused WHO of “ colluding” with China to cover up the initial outbreak, citing the U.N. health agency’s continued public praise of the country despite China’s refusal to share crucial data.

WHO’s expert group said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent two letters to senior Chinese government officials in February requesting information, including details about the earliest human cases of COVID-19 in the city of Wuhan. It’s unclear whether the Chinese responded.

The experts said no studies were provided to WHO that assessed the possibility of COVID-19 resulting from a laboratory leak. They said their understanding of how the coronavirus emerged was limited by several factors, including that not all research presented by Chinese scientists has been published.

Jamie Metzl, who sits on an unrelated WHO advisory group, has suggested that the Group of Seven industrialized nations set up their own COVID origins probe, saying WHO lacks the political authority, expertise and independence to conduct such a critical evaluation.

Metzl welcomed WHO’s call for a further investigation into the lab leak possibility but said it was insufficient.

“Tragically, the Chinese government is still refusing to share essential raw data and will not allow the necessary, full audit of the Wuhan labs,” he said. “Gaining access to this information is critical to both understanding how this pandemic began and preventing future pandemics.”

WHO’s expert scientists said numerous avenues of research were needed, including studies evaluating the role of wild animals, and environmental studies in places where the virus might have first spread, like the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan.

In March 2021, WHO released a report about COVID-19’s origins following a highly choreographed visit by international scientists to China. The report concluded that the disease most likely jumped into humans from bats and that there was no evidence to suggest there was a connection to a laboratory.

Yet after considerable criticism, including from some scientists on WHO’s team, the agency’s director acknowledged that it was “ premature ” to rule out a lab leak and said he asked China to be more transparent in sharing information.

In its new report, WHO said the experts were given access to data that included unpublished blood samples from more than 40,000 people in Wuhan in 2019. The samples were tested for COVID-19 antibodies. None were found, suggesting the virus was not spreading widely before it was first identified in late December of that year.

WHO’s experts called for numerous studies to be done, including testing wild animals to find which species might host COVID-19. They also said the “cold chain” supply theory should be probed. China has previously advanced the idea that traces of COVID-19 on frozen packaging was causing outbreaks rather than any domestic source, a theory widely panned by outside scientists.

To investigate whether COVID-19 might have been the result of a lab accident, WHO’s experts said interviews should be conducted “with the staff in the laboratories tasked with managing and implementing biosafety and biosecurity.”

China has called the suggestion that COVID-19 began in a laboratory “ baseless ” and countered that the virus originated in American facilities, which were also known to be researching coronaviruses in animals. The Chinese government has said it supports the search for the pandemic’s origins, but that other countries should be the focus.

In a footnote to the report, WHO’s group noted that three of its own experts — scientists from China, Brazil and Russia — disagreed with the call to investigate the possibility of COVID-19 being sparked by a lab accident.

Scientists connected to WHO lamented in August 2021 that the search for the pandemic’s origins had stalled and that the window of opportunity was “closing fast.” They warned that collecting data that was now at least two years old was increasingly difficult.

Banner image: FILE – A worker in protectively overalls and carrying disinfecting equipment walks outside the Wuhan Central Hospital, China on Feb. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

23 Shares
Tweet
Share
Share
Pin