WHO urges any country with intel on COVID’s origins to come clean after FBI said Wuhan lab leak was ‘most likely cause’ and China furiously denied
- Covid-19 is so far estimated to have killed over 6.8 million people worldwide
- Chinese officials angrily denied FBI claims that Covid leaked from a Wuhan lab
The World Health Organisation has urged countries to reveal what they know about the origins of Covid-19, following US claims of a Chinese lab leak and furious denials from Beijing.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus today said any country with knowledge of the genesis of the virus that is estimated to have killed over 6.8 million people worldwide had to come clean.
He said it would advance understanding of the virus and help the international community prepare for possible future pandemics.
Chinese officials have angrily denied the claim, calling it a smear campaign against Beijing.
Christopher Wray told Fox News on Tuesday that the FBI had now assessed the source of Covid-19 pandemic was ‘most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan’
Chinese officials have angrily denied the FBI claim. Pictured: Security personnel keep watch outside Wuhan Institute of Virology, February 3
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (centre) today said any country with knowledge of the genesis of the virus had to come clean
‘If any country has information about the origins of the pandemic, it’s essential for that information to be shared with WHO and the international scientific community,’ the WHO director-general said.
‘Not so as to apportion blame but to advance our understanding of how this pandemic started so we can prevent, prepare for and respond to future epidemics and pandemics,’ he told a press conference.
‘WHO has not abandoned any plans to identify the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic,’ he stressed.
In 2021, the United Nations’ health agency set up the so-called Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens, which identified key studies that are needed in China and elsewhere to test hypotheses on the origins of the pandemic.
‘WHO continues to call for China to be transparent in sharing data and to conduct the necessary investigations and share the results,’ said Tedros, adding that he had written and spoken to top Chinese leaders on multiple occasions.
‘Until then, all hypotheses on the origins of the virus remain on the table,’ he said.
But he added that continued politicisation of the origins research was turning a purely scientific process into a geopolitical football, making the task harder – and thereby the world less safe.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said the US claims were a ‘politicisation’ of theories on the origins of COVID-19
Virologist Shi Zheng-li (left) at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in central China’s Hubei province, February 23, 2017
The first infections were recorded in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
Wray’s comments come after a report earlier this week said the US Department of Energy had determined that a leak from a Chinese lab was the most likely cause of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The department works with a network of national laboratories, including some that do advanced biological research. Other agencies within the US intelligence community believe the virus emerged naturally.