WHO urges countries to clarify information about the origins of Covid

GENEVA: WHO on Friday urged all countries to reveal what they know about the origins of Covid-19following the US claims of a Chinese laboratory leak and furious denials from Beijing.
FBI Director Christopher Wray told Fox News television on Tuesday that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had now investigated the source of Pandemic of covid-19 it was “most likely a potential laboratory accident in Wuhan”.
The first infections with the new coronavirus were recorded at the end of 2019 in the Chinese city, which hosts a virus research laboratory.
Chinese officials angrily denied the FBI’s claim, calling it a smear campaign against Beijing.
“If a country has information about the origins of the pandemic, it is essential that this information is shared with WHO and the international scientific community,” said the director-general of the World Health Organization. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Not to place blame, but to advance our understanding of how this pandemic started so we can prevent, prepare for, and respond to future outbreaks and pandemics.
“WHO has not abandoned any plans to identify the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he told reporters.
In 2021, the United Nations health agency established the Scientific Advisory Group on the Origins of New Pathogens (SAGO) to look into the origins of the pandemic.
“WHO continues to ask China to be transparent in sharing data and to conduct the necessary investigations and share findings,” Tedros said, adding that he has written and spoken with top Chinese leaders on multiple occasions.
“Until then, all hypotheses about the origins of the virus remain on the table.”
But he added that the politicization of origins research was making scientific work more difficult and, consequently, the world less safe.
FBI Chief Wray’s comments came after a report earlier this week said the US Department of Energy had determined that a leak from a Chinese laboratory was the most likely cause of the Covid-19 epidemic.
The department works with a network of national laboratories, including some involved in advanced biological research. Other agencies within the US intelligence community believe the virus emerged naturally.
Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, said WHO had contacted the US mission in Geneva for more information.
So far, however, they haven’t had access to the data on which the US reports were based, said Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist.
“It remains critical that such information be shared,” to help advance scientific studies, he added.
Tedros said there was a moral imperative to find out how the pandemic started, for the sake of the millions who have lost their lives to Covid-19 and those living with long-term Covid.
More than 6.8 million Covid-19 deaths and more than 758 million confirmed cases have been reported to WHO, which acknowledges that the true toll is much higher.


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