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WHO says China holds potential information on origin of pandemic – News

Summary of news

  • China may have information about first coronavirus infection in Wuhan
  • The data was on an open access site but was removed.
  • WHO invites you to share information with the folder.
  • The outbreak may be reported to WHO.

China may have the ability to reveal the origin of the Covid pandemic
Ali Song/Reuters – 02.06.2022

The WHO (World Health Organization) this Friday (17) made its umpteenth request to China to share all scientific information useful in determining the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic, after discovering that the Asian giant holds genetic and molecular results. Animal markets were identified as the first focus of the health emergency.

The information, which comes from the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC, its acronym in English) in China, was published on an open-access science platform in January and was discovered by European experts who analyzed it and reported the results to the WHO. But since then all this data has been deleted.

As soon as the WHO became aware of the case (five days ago) it asked the Chinese authorities to make the information available, which has yet to happen.

The agency clarified that these data do not allow us to draw a firm conclusion about how the epidemic started, but are “an important part for us to get closer to an answer.”

Western scientists who were able to download and work with data from China presented their findings to a WHO expert panel dedicated to establishing the origin of new pathogens, including the cause of Covid-19.

WHO has asked China to send the data directly to these experts so that it can be analyzed in detail later.

The organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told a virtual press conference that “this information could and should have been shared three years ago,” and reiterated his call for China to act more transparently.

So far, the anecdotal information the agency has received is consistent with genetic and molecular tests of samples collected from the Wuhan food and animal market in January 2020 that were positive for the Sars-CoV-2 virus.

“However, the virus has not been identified in animals or animal samples on the market, nor have we found animals that have infected humans,” said Maria van Gerkov, WHO’s technical officer for combating the pandemic.

“We directly request the China CDC to make this information available to the international community. Any existing information, any available data from China or any other country should be shared,” he reiterated.

The epidemiologist stressed that there are still many hypotheses about the origin of the coronavirus, which has caused nearly 7 million deaths worldwide, 5,000 of them in the past week alone.

To this end, the WHO told China that additional investigations should be carried out to identify an animal that could act as an intermediary and infect humans, whether the virus leaked from the laboratory, as well as the location. The appearance of animals in the Wuhan market.

“One area that we don’t have yet is, for example, where the animals came from, which farm. We also ask people who work in the market or the farms where the animals came from for serological tests, but these are all unanswered questions,” lamented Van Gerkov.

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