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All covid origin theories remain on the table: WHO chief

All covid origin theories remain on the table: WHO chief

Geneva: World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that the organization is still working to determine the origin of the Covid-19 virus and that “all hypotheses” remain on the table.

His comments come after the US claimed that a Chinese lab leak might have been a likely cause 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 Ghebreyesus, adding that he had written and spoken to top Chinese leaders on multiple occasions, reports The Guardian.

"Until then, all hypotheses on the origins of the virus remain on the table’, he said. The politicisation of the origins research was making the scientific work harder and the world less safe as a result, he added.

The WHO on Friday urged all countries to reveal what they know about the origins of Covid-19. ‘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," said Ghebreyesus.

‘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 said.

‘WHO has not abandoned any plans to identify the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic,’ he told reporters.

Ghebreyesus said there was a moral imperative to find out how the pandemic started, for the sake of the millions who lost their lives to Covid-19 and those living with long Covid.

FBI director Christopher Wray told Fox News television on Tuesday that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had now assessed the source of Covid-19 pandemic was ‘most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan’, reports The Guardian.

His comments come after a report by the US Department of Energy that a Chinese lab leak was the most likely cause of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The department works with a network of national laboratories, including some involved in advanced biological research. Other agencies within the US intelligence community believe the virus emerged naturally, according to a report in The Guardian.

The first infections with the new coronavirus were recorded in late 2019 in the Chinese city, which hosts a virus research laboratory, says the report.

Beijing has vehemently denied the FBI claim, terming it a smear campaign.

Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) was set up in 2021 by the UN’s health agency to determine the origins of the pandemic.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's Covid-19 technical lead and an infectious disease epidemiologist said the WHO had reached out to the US mission in Geneva for more information. So far, they did not have access to the data on which the US reports were based.

‘It remains vital that that information is shared’, to help move the scientific studies forward, she added.

More than 6.8 million Covid-19 deaths and more than 758 million confirmed cases have been reported to the WHO, which acknowledges that the true toll is far higher.

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