The Head of WHO Says It was Premature to Dismiss Covid Lab Leak

World Health Organization Chief acknowledged that it was premature to dismiss a potential connection between a laboratory leak and the Covid-19 pandemic. He said on July 15 that he is asking China to become more transparent as scientists are looking for the coronavirus origin. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said that getting access to any information had been a challenge for the team who visited China to investigate the Covid-19 source. The first human cases having coronavirus were identified in the Wuhan city of China.

Tedros stated that the UN health agency is asking China to be cooperative and transparent on the raw data they asked at the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. He said that there had been a rush to rule out the lab leak theory from where the coronavirus might have escaped. Tedros undermined the WHO’s own March report, where it concluded that the lab leak theory is unlikely. He said that he was a lab technician himself and an immunologist too. Tedros added while working in the lab, accidents happen, and it is common.

The idea that the whole pandemic situation started from a laboratory gained traction in recent months. It increased even more, when President Joe Biden ordered a US intelligence review to assess such possibilities in May. In response, China argued that the attempts to link Covid-19 origins to a laboratory are politically motivated and suggested that the coronavirus might have started abroad. In the annual meeting of health ministers at WHO, China said that future searches for the origins of Covid-19 should be continued in other countries as well.

Getting the Information is Important

Many scientists suspect that the virus originated in bats, but the actual path by which it got into humans has still not been determined. It will typically take decades to know the natural source. Tedros said checking what actually happened in their labs is important to nail down if the coronavirus pandemic had any lab links. He said they need direct information about the situation of the lab before and after the beginning of the pandemic. If they are able to get complete information, then they will exclude the laboratory connection.

In 2020, the Associated Press found that the World Health Organization was quite frustrated by the lack of transparency and not getting details from China during the early days of the virus’ spread. This showed that China was trying to hide the information of pandemic’s origin.

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