In a recent statement on Monday, the World Health Organization claimed that no evidence has yet been given by Washington on the US claims of the novel coronavirus originating from the Wuhan lab located in mainland China.
The emergencies director of the WHO, Michael Ryan, specifically clarified in the words “We have not received any data or specific evidence from the United States government relating to the purported origin of the virus—so from our perspective, this remains speculative,”
According to the scientific data on the novel coronavirus, the virus has been transmitted from animals to humans possibly through another intermediate animal in the past year in China. The so-called exotic animal market in Wuhan that sells different kinds of animal meat is a suspect so far.
Anthony Fauci, who is one of the most well-known and leading epidemiologists in the US, agreed with WHO’s statement in his interview for National Geographic magazine on Monday.
“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, (the scientific evidence) is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated,” He explained.
He further added that everything the scientists know about evolution and behaviors of coronaviruses shows that the COVID-19 originated naturally and was passed down from one species to another.
However, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, has promulgated the view that the coronavirus originated from the Wuhan lab and has claimed that he even has supporting evidence.
In addition, Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, added that there is significant evidence to support the view that the virus came from the Chinese lab in a statement from last Sunday.
On the other hand, US intelligence has made no such confirmations and has stated that the investigation regarding the origin of the virus in China is still ongoing.
The Chinese government has denied all allegations based on the virus spreading as a result of a lab accident. The WHO has not given any statements that have supported any such theories either.
In fact, it has clarified that it is willing to examine any piece of evidence that can help in understanding the current situation as it has important implications for policies regarding public health in the future.
If there are any solid proof and data, it is only for the US government to decide when to share it with WHO. However, the organization cannot support any such claims by the President unless there is any evidence.
The United Nations Health Agency, on the other hand, has provided enough information and evidence to show that the coronavirus originated naturally and most probably from an animal.
Maria Van Kerkhove, who is a health expert at the WHO, emphasized the presence of around fifteen thousand genome sequences of the coronavirus available. In addition, she also added that there are also other forms of evidence to show that the virus exists naturally.
The only important aspect left to examine is how the novel coronavirus transmitted from the host, which is likely to be bats, to humans in order to understand and control animal-to-human infections in the future.
Last week, experts at WHO also stated that they will be participating in the ongoing Chinese research regarding the animal origin and transmission of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 250,000 people in only a few months and has over three million confirmed cases worldwide now.
Kerkhove and Ryan both agree that scientific investigation should be the primary focus at the moment, rather than aggressive political statements.