WHO says Chinese team interviewed scientists in Wuhan about the origin of the virus

Geneva (Reuters) – A World Health Organization team in China conducted “extensive discussions” and exchanges with scientists in Wuhan to investigate the origin of COVID-19, where the outbreak was first detected, A spokesperson said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Geneva, Switzerland, during the World Health Assembly (WHA) of the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters on May 18, 2020, depicted due to an outbreak of coronovirus disease (COVID-19). REUTERS / Dennis Ballyboss

The talks include updates on animal health research, he said. China closed a wildlife market in Wuhan at the start of the outbreak, the day after some patients or vendors became aware of it.

The WHO states that the virus most likely came from bats and possibly another, intermediate animal was the “host”.

The results of the WHO investigation have long been awaited by scientists and governments around the world, who are none other than Washington, who have worked hard for the mission. The Trump administration accused the WHO of being China-centric and planned to leave the agency to deal with the epidemic.

“The team had extensive discussions with Chinese counterparts and received updates on epidemiological studies, biology and genetic analysis and animal health research,” Christian Lindmyer said in a video discussion with Wuhan virologists and scientists.

The three-week advance mission consisted of two experts in animal health and epidemiology who were tasked with doing the groundwork for an extensive team of Chinese and international experts who would try to find out how the virus that COVID- Causes 19, he jumps species barrier from animals to humans. .

Lindmire did not provide details on the timing or composition of the comprehensive mission.

References for the Comprehensive Mission have been produced in draft format with Chinese officials, he said, and were not yet publicly available.

The team is set to be creatively sensitive as any expulsion of American experts will be controversial. Another question will be the degree of access given by Beijing.

US President Donald Trump and Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo have said that the pathogen must have originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, although they have not provided any evidence for this and China has denied it. Scientists and US intelligence agencies have said that it has emerged in nature.

WHO emergency chief Mike Ryan said on Monday that the surprise was possible.

“The fact that the fire alarm was triggered (in Wuhan) is not necessarily the place where the disease has passed from animals to humans,” he said.

Reporting by Emma Farge and Michael Shields; Editing by Nick McPhee

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