More than a year and a half after the coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan, China, and the eventual lockdown of large parts of the world, the origin of the virus remains unclear.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has now assembled a group of 26 researchers to investigate how the COVID-19 virus originated.
This could be the “last chance to learn the origin of the virus,” according to WHO crisis director Michael Ryan.
The group will, according to BBC News, assessing whether the virus passed from animals to humans in markets in Wuhan, or whether it was leaked in a laboratory accident.
China has strongly distanced itself from the latter theory.
The 26 experts have been carefully selected and will advise the United Nations Office of Health on the development, monitoring and support of several studies on the origin of the virus. Several experts were part of the research group that was previously in Wuhan to investigate the origin of the epidemic.
It was previously assumed that the virus came from bats and transmitted to humans, but it has not yet been clarified.
Priorities should be arranged differently
China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Chen Shu, said earlier this week that sending a team to China should not be a priority.
“If we’re going to send a team somewhere else, I don’t think it should be to China because we already have international teams there twice,” Chen Shuo said at the time.
In August, China rejected the World Health Organization’s request for a new investigation into the origins of the virus in China Watchman.
Blood samples must be checked
China has launched its own research project using blood tests to investigate the origin of the virus.
In the blood bank in Wuhan, about 200,000 samples are stored. A blood bank should be able to provide samples from large parts of the population since COVID-19 was first thought to infect humans.
“The tests will contain important clues,” said Maureen Miller, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University.
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