The World Health Organization (WHO) published on Tuesday the results of the investigation that investigated the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

According to the report, “It is probable” that the virus has arisen in an animal and has been transmitted, either directly or through an intermediary animal, to humans.

The document also maintains that it is “extremely improbable” that the virus reached humans from an incident in a laboratory.

The report does not give a conclusive answer on how the virus emerged and how it reached humans, and warns that there are Open questions that will have to be answered in future investigations.

“Still we have not found the source of the virus, “Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, said in a statement.

“As far as WHO is concerned, all hypotheses are still on the table“He said.” This report is a very important beginning, but it is not the end. “

The origin of the virus

On the origin of the virus and its arrival in humans, the WHO document concludes that:

  • It is “possible or probable” that it was a direct contagion from an animal to a human
  • It is “probable or very probable” that there was an intermediate animal between an infected animal and humans
  • It is “possible” that the virus has reached humans through food products
  • It is “extremely unlikely” that the virus reached humans due to an incident in a laboratory.

Regarding the Wuhan wet market, which was originally considered the initial source of the outbreak, the report argues that “there is no firm conclusion“on the role that this place had in the origin of the pandemic.

First cases of contagion

The report also suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may have been circulating. “several weeks” before it was first detected in humans.

The study says that several samples that appear to be positive were detected before the first case in Wuhan, suggesting that the virus could have been circulating in other countries.

Some of the suspected positive samples were detected even earlier than the first case in Wuhan, opening up the possibility of lost circulation in other countries.

The report, however, warns that “the quality of the studies is limited” but even so, it is important to investigate the first possible cases of contagion.

Joint investigation

The WHO report is the result of a mission in which a group of 17 Chinese experts worked alongside 17 international experts.

The investigation included a trip to China at the end of January during which the experts visited hospitals, markets, farms and laboratories for 14 days and collected official data.

The mission in China was strictly controlled by local authorities, who initially resisted it being carried out.

At the time, the United States criticized China for what it considered a lack of transparency, while Beijing accused Washington of “politicizer” The issue.

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