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WHO launches new group to study the origin of coronavirus

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), spoke at a news conference on the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Geneva in March 2020.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), spoke at a news conference on the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Geneva in March 2020.

Stephen Wellmas / Bloomberg via Getty Images

The World Health Organization has announced the establishment of a scientific advisory group aimed at identifying the origin of COVID-19 and preparing for future outbreaks of other deadly pathogens.

WHO Scientific Advisory Group on the Origin of New Pathogens, or SagoScientists from the United States, China and about 20 other countries will participate. It is prosecuted by answering the question of how the new coronavirus first infected humans — a mystery that has escaped experts for more than 18 months of crisis.The group is also responsible for establishing a framework for combating future pandemics.

Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO Emerging Infectious Diseases Unit, said the establishment of a new group “now removes all noise, all politics surrounding it, what we know, what we do not know. A real opportunity to focus on. ” know. “

The team has 700 from experts in areas such as epidemiology, animal health, ecology, clinical medicine, viral science, genomics, molecular epidemiology, molecular biology, biology, food safety, biosafety, biosecurity and public health. WHO said it would be selected from the above applications statement..

“The emergence of new viruses that can cause epidemics and pandemics is not surprising, and SARS-CoV-2 is such a modern virus, but this is not the last,” said WHO Director Tedros. Dr. Adanom Gebreyes said. Said. “Understanding where new pathogens are coming from is essential to prevent future outbreaks of potential epidemics and pandemics and requires extensive expertise.”

Beijing continues to resist investigations in China

The establishment of this group is due to China’s continued resistance to efforts to study the possible origin of the virus there. Beijing after the first investigation by WHO was denied Plans for the second phase of the July investigation, which may delve into various hypotheses about the origin of the virus, including escaping from the Chinese government research institute in Wuhan.

So-called “Laborique theory” Initially fired by WHO, it has gained momentum in recent months, partly backed by Beijing’s secrets. Many scientists They claim that they leak much less in the laboratory than other methods — the new coronavirus is of natural origin.

Beijing did not immediately react to the announcement of the new task force.

WHO director still wants to see Wuhan’s lab

Despite WHO’s initial findings, Tedros is seeking an audit of the Wuhan Institute of Veterinary Medicine, including the Wuhan Institute of Virginology. Some scientists believe It may be the source of the virus that caused the first infection in China.

Some of the proposed SAGO members were the original 10 WHO team It studied possible origins in China, including Chinese scientist Yungi Yang of the Beijing Genomics Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

NS editorial Co-authored by Tedros published in Chemistry On Wednesday, SAGO said, “We will quickly assess the status of SARS-CoV-2 origin studies and advise WHO on what is known, open gaps, and next steps.”

“[all] “The hypothesis must continue to be examined, including a study of wildlife sold in Wuhan and its surrounding markets in China (where COVID-19 cases were first reported in December 2019). Study of SARS-like coronavirus circulating in bats in China and Southeast Asia. Study on pre-pandemic biological sampling around the world. And other animal susceptibility studies. “

“Similarly, we must carefully consider the laboratory hypothesis, focusing on the laboratory where the first reports of human infections were made in Wuhan,” he added. Then those results will be openly shared. “

Copyright 2021 NPR. For more information, please visit https://www.npr.org.

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