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WHO says coronavirus unlikely to have leaked from Chinese lab | CBC News

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The coronavirus is unlikely to have leaked from a Chinese lab and is extra seemingly to have jumped to people from an animal, a World Health Organization skilled stated Tuesday.

WHO meals security and animal illnesses skilled Peter Ben Embarek made the evaluation on the finish of a go to to the central Chinese metropolis of Wuhan, the place a staff of scientists is investigating the attainable origins of the virus that causes COVID-19. The first circumstances had been found within the metropolis in December 2019.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology has collected in depth virus samples, main to allegations that it might have triggered the unique outbreak by leaking the virus into the encompassing group. China has strongly rejected that chance and has promoted different theories that the virus might have originated elsewhere. The staff is contemplating a number of theories for a way the illness first ended up in people.

“Our initial findings suggest that the introduction through an intermediary host species is the most likely pathway and one that will require more studies and more specific, targeted research,” Embarek stated.

“However, the findings suggest that the laboratory incidents hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus to the human population.”

WHO staff granted full entry to websites, personnel

The WHO staff attracts on specialists from 10 international locations. Its mission is meant to be an preliminary step delving into the origins of the virus, which is believed to have originated in bats earlier than being handed to people by one other species of untamed animal, reminiscent of a pangolin or bamboo rat, which is taken into account an unique delicacy by some in China.

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Transmission by the commerce in frozen merchandise was additionally a possible chance, Embarek stated.

Security personnel preserve watch exterior the Wuhan Institute of Virology throughout the go to by the World Health Organization staff tasked with investigating the origins of the novel coronavirus, in Hubei province, China on Feb. 3. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Another member of the WHO staff informed The Associated Press late final week that they loved a higher stage of openness than they’d anticipated, and that they had been granted full entry to all websites and personnel they requested.

That skilled, British-born zoologist Peter Daszak, stated the staff regarded into points together with what the primary circumstances had been, the hyperlink with animals and what, if any, the function that imports of frozen meals might have performed — a idea that China has lengthy put ahead.

The go to by the WHO staff took months to negotiate after China solely agreed to it amid huge worldwide stress on the World Health Assembly assembly final May. Beijing has continued to resist requires a strictly unbiased investigation.

Chinese authorities have stored a good maintain on details about the attainable causes of the pandemic that has now killed greater than 2.3 million individuals worldwide.

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