WHO at Odds With China Over Virus Origins Research

WHO at Odds With China Over Virus Origins Research
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives a press conference at Geneva's WHO headquarters on Feb. 24, 2020. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)
The Associated Press

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it hoped that China’s research into the origins of COVID-19 remained “scientific, transparent, urgent and inclusive” on Wednesday.

Speaking from Geneva, top WHO official Maria Van Kerkhove said the organization had “heard from Chinese colleagues that studies are underway.”

“We would have to ask them specifically what those studies are, and we look forward to the results of those,” she added.

China, the U.S., and the World Health Organization are entangled in a feud that centers on whether the virus that causes COVID-19 could have leaked from a lab in the city of Wuhan, where the disease was first detected in late 2019.

A joint WHO-China report this year concluded a lab leak was “extremely unlikely,” and China wants the investigation to move on to other possibilities.

The most likely scenario, the report said, is the virus jumped from bats to another animal that then infected humans.

But the findings are not conclusive.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in late March that “all hypotheses are on the table and warrant complete and further studies.”