Monday 29 March 2021
Search for coronavirus origin
WHO: laboratory accident “very unlikely”
For several weeks, experts from the World Health Organization in China are researching the origin of the coronavirus. Now they submit a report – in it they reject laboratory theory. A transmission from animals to humans is more likely.
In its report on the expert mission in Wuhan, China, the World Health Organization (WHO) assumes that the novel coronavirus is transmitted to humans by an intermediate host animal. According to the WHO report presented in Geneva on Monday, the pathogen was “likely to very likely” from the bat to another animal and from there to humans. The thesis that the virus escaped from a laboratory, however, was described as “extremely unlikely”.
It was only in January this year that an international team of experts put together by the WHO was allowed to travel to Wuhan. After a delay of several days, the experts arrived in the Chinese metropolis in mid-January. After a two-week quarantine, they had just under two weeks to investigate.
At the final press conference on February 9 in Wuhan, it was already clear that international experts could not clearly determine the origin of the pandemic. In their report, however, they will set out the most likely transmission routes and possibly reject other hypotheses as unlikely.
Even before the WHO mission in Wuhan, there was broad agreement in science that Sars-CoV-2 originally occurred in bats and jumped over to humans via another animal. However, it is not known which animal species acted as intermediate hosts. No traces of the pathogen were found in samples from tens of thousands of wild, domestic and farm animals.