WHO Appoints Advisory Group to Investigate the Origin of the Covid Pandemic


The World Health Organization on Wednesday appointed 26 scientists to a new scientist. advisory group tasked with studying the origins of the coronavirusopens a new chapter of anxious searches for how the pandemic started.

Selected from over 700 applications, the group includes: Scientists from 26 countriesA reflection of WHO’s effort to garner widespread international support for the study.

Among them is an American researcher—Dr. Inger Damon – and there is a Chinese scientist. Chinese scientist Dr. Yungui Yang is deputy director of the Beijing Institute of Genomics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a government agency.


With this new group, WHO is trying to reinvigorate its research into the origins of the pandemic. This work bogged down in the political rivalry between China and the United States, and concerns about conflicts of interest among scientists since WHO sent a previous team to China in early 2021.

The result of this visit was a joint report by the team selected by the WHO and China saying that while a coronavirus leak from a laboratory is possible, it is “extremely likely”. called premature.

Six members of the WHO team, which have since disbanded, joined the new advisory group. Also on the committee is the head of a Swiss biosafety center, indicative of WHO’s efforts to ensure that a laboratory leak is taken into account alongside scenarios in which the virus naturally spreads from animals to humans.

Dr. Tedros and two senior WHO officials said, “A laboratory accident cannot be ruled out unless there is sufficient evidence and these results are clearly shared.” He wrote in an editorial in Science magazine outlines the authority of the advisory group.

After a two-week public comment period, which is customary before WHO advisory groups are established, the committee will begin meeting.

WHO officials said the group will evaluate recent studies, including those identifying bats harboring close relatives of the virus behind Covid-19, and advise the organization on what studies are needed in the future, potentially including field research in China.

China has reacted angrily to the idea that the virus may have originated in a laboratory, and analysts said it was almost certain to resist outside requests to visit research centers, bat caves or wildlife farms within its borders.

Unlike the last WHO team meeting specifically for the China visit, the new committee will also have the authority to weigh in on the emergence of any new pathogens beyond the coronavirus, giving it a permanence that WHO hopes will help isolate it. from political strife.

The executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, Dr. Michael Ryan said at a news briefing Wednesday that it is impossible to ignore the obstacles like “national pride” that stand in the way of finding the origins of the coronavirus. But he said the new advisory group is an effort to get back to the scientific issues at the core of this effort.

“This is our best chance,” he said. “And this may be our last chance to understand the origins of this virus in a collegiate, collective and mutually responsible way.”


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