GENEVA (RockedBuzz via 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 the clearest indication that the UN body remains committed to uncovering how the virus was born.
A US agency has assessed that the pandemic was likely caused by an unintentional leak from a Chinese laboratory, increasing pressure on the WHO to provide answers, The Wall Street Journal reported. Beijing denies the assessment that could soon go public after the US House of Representatives voted this week to declassify it.
“It remains to understand the origins of #COVID19 and explore all the hypotheses: a scientific imperative, to help us prevent future epidemics (and) a moral imperative, for the sake of the millions who have died and those who live with #LongCOVID,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter late Saturday evening.
He was writing to celebrate three years since WHO first used the word “pandemic” to describe the global COVID-19 outbreak.
Activists, politicians and academics said in an open letter this weekend that the goal of the anniversary should be to prevent a repeat of the unfair rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, saying this has 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 was likely transmitted from bats to humans through another animal, but more research was needed. China has said no more visits are needed.
WHO has since set up a scientific advisory group on dangerous pathogens but has yet to reach any conclusions on how the pandemic started, saying key data are lacking.
(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Sharon Singleton)