Covid-19 origin likely from bats, animal hosts as pathway: WHOtext_fields
According to the much-awaited results of the joint WHO-China study into the origins of Covid-19, the virus most likely spread from bats to humans through an intermediate animal.
Though there is a possibility that the intermediate animal could be pangolin, rabbits, mink and ferret badgers, the exact animal that acted as the intermediate host 'remains elusive', said the report.
The report also stated that the long-standing hypothesis of the virus leaking from a laboratory, which US President Donald Trump further propagated, is an 'extremely unlikely' event to have happened.
Though the report resolved a few persistent queries, there are still many unanswered ones like how exactly did the virus infect the human, the geographic origin of the virus, etc.
The concern regarding virus spread through frozen foods was also addressed, and the route was deemed possible. The report said that "There is no conclusive evidence for foodborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the probability of a cold-chain contamination with the virus from a reservoir is very low."
According to the scientists, another possible route was the direct animal-to-human transmission and the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan as the likely location to have triggered it. The report, however, concluded that the Huanan seafood market's role in initiating the outbreak remains unclear, but due to the crowd, it might have amplified the cases of infection.
"As far as WHO is concerned, all hypotheses remain on the table. This report is a very important beginning, but it is not the end. We have not yet found the source of the virus, and we must continue to follow the science and leave no stone unturned as we do," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The report, which was written by a joint international team, also recommended more testing of animals from Southeast Asia and more in-depth study of mass gatherings that could have aided the spread of the virus.