The World Health Organization (WHO) has put together a new team that is once again searching for the origin of the coronavirus. According to Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, this may be the “last chance” to determine the origin of SARS-CoV-2.
The Scientific Advisory Group (SAGO) is made up of 26 scientists from 26 countries. Six members, including Dutchman Marion Koopmans, were part of the previous research team that actually went to Wuhan in January. At the time, the judgment was that it was “extremely unlikely” that the virus had originated in a laboratory. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus later corrected this statement, saying it was too early to rule out the hypothesis completely.
According to Mike Ryan of the Health Emergencies Program, the timing of the second study is actually better. The previous study began in January, when the wound was still fresh. The results were announced in February. “The WHO was looking for a way to step back and create an environment where we only look at scientific facts.” He hopes that this time China will cooperate better in the investigation, which should be separated from the political debate.
China refused to share documents from the lab that conducted research on bats during the previous investigation. “This is our best, and possibly last, opportunity to determine the origin of the virus.”
So far there has been opposition from China. For example, China’s ambassador to the United Nations Chen Shuo said at a press conference that the results of the preliminary investigation were “clear.” According to him, there is no point in sending a new research team to China: “It is time to send the teams to other places.”
The research team will also constantly monitor future outbreaks and conduct studies on new pathogens.
Unlimited free access to Showbytes? And that can!
Log in or create an account and never miss any of the stars.
“Creator. Award-winning problem solver. Music evangelist. Incurable introvert.”