The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it will correct multiple “unintended errors” in a joint report with China regarding the origins of the CCP virus, and will look into other possible discrepancies, The Washington Post reports.
WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic confirmed to The Post that it would be addressing “editing errors,” found in its report released months ago but noted that the issues did not affect “the data analysis process, nor the conclusions.”
Specifically, the organization said it would be altering the virus sequence IDs for three of the 13 earliest patients listed in a chart in the report and will clarify that the first family cluster was not linked to the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan.
A map in the report also appears to show the first known case of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus being found in an individual who lived on the opposite side of the Yangtze River from where the Wuhan government claimed the person resided when they fell ill on Dec. 8, 2019.
When questioned by the Post regarding this, Jasarevic said that the agency cannot comment on what the Wuhan government announced last year.
However, he noted that the discrepancy was not important to the overall conclusions of the report because “the current first known patient is most probably not the first case.”
The spokesperson said mistakes in the report were due to “editing errors,” but they did not affect “the data analysis process, nor the conclusions.”
Jasarevic added that the genome sequences “will undergo thorough revision,” adding that “The numbers might have been updated during the continued process of submission and publishing.”
It is unclear how the errors were discovered, who made the errors, and whether there are other mistakes in the report but it comes following growing criticism of the report and questions over its accuracy.
On Thursday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters that investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in China were being hampered by the lack of raw data on the first days of spread there and urged it to be more transparent.
He added that his organization had been too quick to rule out the theory that COVID-19 was leaked from a Chinese government lab, and that there had been a “premature push” to rule out the theory.
“I was a lab technician myself, I’m an immunologist, and I have worked in the lab, and lab accidents happen,” Tedros said. “It’s common.”
A WHO-led team spent four weeks in and around the central city of Wuhan with Chinese researchers and said in March that the virus had probably been transmitted from bats to humans through another animal.
It said that “introduction through a laboratory incident was considered to be an extremely unlikely pathway,” and that the virus likely spread to people via an animal.
But a number of countries, including the United States, and some scientists questioned the findings, with critics noting that the Chinese communist regime had a significant role in their investigation and accused them of again engaging in a cover-up.
“We ask China to be transparent and open and to cooperate,” the WHO Director-General said, adding “We owe it to the millions who suffered and the millions who died to know what happened.”
China has called the theory that the virus may have escaped from a Wuhan laboratory “absurd.”
With reporting from Reuters.