WHO to relaunch Covid origins probe with fresh team

27-09-2021 Mon 13:32 IST | IANS | International

Washington, Sep 27 : The World Health Organization (WHO) is set to relaunch investigations into the origins of the Covid-19, with a fresh probe team, the media reported.

A new team consists of about 20 scientists, and includes specialists in laboratory safety and biosecurity and geneticists and animal-disease experts versed in how viruses spill over from nature. They will hunt for new evidence in China and elsewhere, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A joint WHO-China inquiry, whose findings were released in March this year, had dismissed the possibility that the virus had emerged accidentally from a laboratory as "extremely unlikely".

Undermining its own report, Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in July, proposed a second phase of studies in Wuhan, which includes audits of laboratories and markets in the city of Wuhan.

As per Ghebreyesus, getting access to raw data had been a challenge for the international team that travelled to China to investigate the source of the pandemic.

According to scientists at the global health body, time is running out to determine how the pandemic began, as evidenced such as blood samples are being thrown away and antibodies in the earliest Covid-19 victims are fading to undetectable levels.

China has, however, rejected the probe accusing the WHO of "arrogance" and a "disrespect for common sense".

Chinese scientists have also asked the WHO to extend the hunt for origins of Covid-19 to labs in other countries including the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

As a result, the new team who will be chosen by the end of this week, are likely to face stiff resistance from China. The original WHO team has been disbanded, the WSJ report said.

The Chinese government has declined to clear whether it would allow a new team into the country.

The Foreign Ministry, in a statement, said that China has "cooperated fully" with the previous inquiry, the report added.

"China will continue to support and engage in global science-based origins tracing and stands firmly opposed to political maneuvering in whatever form," Chinese President Xi Jinping told the UN General Assembly last week.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry had stated that the country will closely monitor the WHO's selection of a new team, and that Beijing has also put forth a number of individuals to be part of it, the report said.

It is not yet clear if the new team will be able to fly experts into China or make significant progress in resolving the origins debate so long as that deadlock remains.

The new team's "priority needs to be data and access in the country where the first reports were identified", a WHO spokesman was quoted as saying.


More News
Telegram crosses 1bn downloads on Google's Play Store
1 hour ago
Hackers mining third-party apps to steal your health data
1 hour ago
Covid resurgence in northern US states amid colder weather
2 hours ago
T20 World Cup warm-ups: Pakistan, Australia, and South Africa win
4 hours ago
Apple unveils MacBook Pro powered by M1 Pro, M1 Max chips
5 hours ago
Iran's president voices concern over IS militants in Af
5 hours ago
Telangana releases Rs 250 cr for Dalit Bandhu in 4 mandals
12 hours ago
China's 'unscientific approach' banning Indians from travelling to China
12 hours ago
T20 World Cup Warm-up: Ishan, Rahul star as India beat England
12 hours ago
Economy healing but still digging out of deep economic contraction: RBI
12 hours ago
EC orders Telangana to stop Dalit Bandhu in Huzurabad
12 hours ago
Flame for Beijing 2022 Winter Games lit in Ancient Olympia
13 hours ago
RBI imposes Rs 1 cr penalty on SBI
13 hours ago
Telangana to procure paddy through 6,545 centres
13 hours ago
Kin of Andhra employees died of Covid to get jobs
13 hours ago
Telangana to formulate strategy to curb drug menace
14 hours ago
Noted Kannada actor, comedian Shankar Rao passes away
14 hours ago
India and China to drive global aviation Satcom market
14 hours ago
Former Andhra minister Mothkupalli Narasimhulu joins TRS
14 hours ago
Taliban's Dy Foreign Minister Stanikzai flees to Dubai, as cracks appear in extremist fortress
14 hours ago
India, Bangladesh set to hold high-level talks to expand connectivity through waterways
14 hours ago
Jaishankar invites Israeli companies to invest in India's post-Covid surge
14 hours ago
We need to create a cricketing bond: Raja on meeting with Ganguly and Shah
14 hours ago
GIS-based Geospatial Energy Map of India launched
14 hours ago
NCP minister dares NCB to prove claims of Aryan Khan's 'remorse'
14 hours ago
Tamil star Suriya plays tribal rights advocate in 'Jai Bhim'
14 hours ago
Under new CEO, T-Hub announces expansion
14 hours ago
T20 World Cup: #BoycottPakistan trends on social media ahead of Indo-Pak clash
15 hours ago
IndiGo draws defensive lines to ward-off upcoming competition
15 hours ago
Bhawani Mandi: A railway station where trains stand in two states
16 hours ago