(Rearchived to add today’s comments.)
GENEVA, March 12 (Reuters) – Uncovering the origins of COVID-19 is a moral imperative and all hypotheses must be explored, the head of the World Health Organization said, in his strongest remarks yet that the body The UN remains committed to finding how the virus came to be.
The Wall Street Journal reported that a US agency assessed that the pandemic was likely caused by an inadvertent leak from a Chinese laboratory, increasing pressure on the WHO to find answers. Beijing denies the assessment.
“Understanding the origins of #COVID19 and exploring all hypotheses remains: a scientific imperative, to help us prevent future outbreaks (and) a moral imperative, for the sake of the millions who have died and those living with #LongCOVID” , Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter on Saturday night.
I was writing to mark three years since the WHO first used the word “pandemic” to describe the global outbreak of COVID-19.
Activists, politicians and academics said in an open letter this weekend that the focus of the anniversary should be to prevent a repeat of the uneven rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, saying it led to at least 1.3 million preventable deaths.
In 2021, a WHO-led team spent weeks in and around Wuhan, China, where the first human cases were reported, and said in a joint report that the virus had likely been transmitted from bats to humans via another animal, but that more research was needed. China has said no more visits are needed.
The WHO has since set up a scientific advisory group on dangerous pathogens, but has yet to reach any conclusions about how the pandemic started, saying key data is missing. (Reporting by Emma Farge)