A team of WHO experts, which probed the origin of the novel coronavirus, said that it has “not yet” found the source of the deadly virus and called for further studies to find answers to questions, including allegations that it could have emanated from a bio lab, need to be addressed. The report of the international team which visited the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus was first reported in December 2019, from January 14 to February 10 was published on Tuesday.
“As far as WHO is concerned, all hypotheses remain on the table. This report is a very important beginning, but it is not the end. We have not yet found the source of the virus, and we must continue to follow the science and leave no stone unturned as we do,” World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“It advances our understanding in important ways, while raising questions that will need to be addressed by further studies,” Dr Tedros was quoted as saying by a WHO press release mailed to news outlets.
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Significantly, Dr Tedros said the team has concluded that leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) as alleged by former US president Donald Trump is the “least likely hypothesis” but it requires further probe.
“The team also visited several laboratories in Wuhan and considered the possibility that the virus entered the human population as a result of a laboratory incident,” he said.
“However, I do not believe that this assessment was extensive enough. Further data and studies will be needed to reach more robust conclusions,” he said.
“Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy,” Dr Tedros said.
According to Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker, more than 127,814,400 confirmed cases have been reported across the world. It also reported that over 2,794,600 deaths have occurred globally due to the virus.