The search for the true nature of the epidemic, which has killed millions and crippled economies, has stalled despite the passage of time, scientists responsible for the UN’s work warned on Wednesday.
A preliminary report by a team of independent, international experts sent to China by the World Health Organization in January concluded that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was most likely transmitted from bats to humans by a medium-sized animal. Can
A competitive hypothesis that the virus somehow emerges from a lab, such as Wuhan’s specialized virology laboratory, is considered “extremely unusual.”
But in a commentary in the journal Nature, 11 of the mission’s 17 scientists said its goal was simply “the first step in a process” that has stalled.
“The search for the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is at a critical juncture,” he wrote.
The window of opportunity for this important inquiry is closing fast.
Detecting the biological trail in the early pockets of the disease, which first surfaced in Wuhan in late 2019, becomes more difficult as the evidence disappears or deteriorates.
The statement came less than two weeks after the WHO called on China to provide information on the initial cases of Covid 19 in an effort to revive the investigation.
Experts say it should include coded data for 174 infections identified in December 2019, which China failed to share during the initial investigation.
Investigators said it was “agreed at this time” that the second phase of the investigation would fill the gap.
But China backtracked on the WHO’s request earlier this month, saying the January investigation should be enough and that more data was demanded from politics, not science.
The WHO on Wednesday highlighted that a report by international experts, published jointly with its Chinese counterparts in March, presented a number of studies that should be done, insisting that That there is no reason to wait.
“We urge all parties to move forward with these studies,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Gabrias told reporters at the UN health agency’s Geneva headquarters.
Other WHO experts at the press conference stressed that there was no need to wait for another international mission in China before considering several more studies needed there. However, there are many capable Chinese scientists who can do this.
Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergency director, agreed, “There are no obstacles to moving these studies forward yet, and Chinese partners do not need the WHO to help them through such a process.”
“In fact, many of our Chinese colleagues report that studies are ongoing, and we are very much looking forward to receiving data and reports.”
Beijing, in particular, has ruled out the possibility that the virus may have escaped the Wuhan virology lab.
On Tuesday, US intelligence agencies presented a report to President Joe Biden, which looked at both animal shipments and “lab leaks.” The results were declared inconclusive.
Piece of Nature noted that the current data lab leak does not support the scenario.
None of the six priorities for further research since the January mission, which has been criticized for its lack of transparency and accessibility, have been pointed out.
Instead, scientists stressed the need to detect early cases of covidia through disease reporting and antibody surveys inside and outside China.
He also demanded further investigation into wildlife farms and wild bats.
“As SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are running out, it will be less profitable to collect more samples and test people before December 2019,” he said.
He added that many wildlife farms of interest for the study have been shut down and their cattle have been killed.
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