Coronavirus likely appeared in bats before spreading to humans through another animal, according to a report to be issued by the World Health Organization on Tuesday, providing some evidence about a question that has become politically risky amid accusations from Beijing of interfering.
According to the report on the origin of the epidemic, which the New York Times obtained before its release, a team of experts recently visited Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus was first detected in late 2019, also rejected. The notion that the virus may have accidentally leaked from a Chinese laboratory is “highly unlikely”.
Officials in the United States and elsewhere have expressed concern about this China’s efforts to reconfigure the narrative about the outbreak in WuhanWhich the authorities tried to hide at first.
Critics deemed the investigation by the WHO team insufficient, saying the WHO was respecting Beijing too much. Chinese scholars, many of them with government ties, helped oversee the investigation, and the report was repeatedly delayed amid sensitive negotiations with Chinese officials. For the most famous, China Sought to delay Visiting investigators in an apparent effort to avoid scrutiny of its early mistakes in dealing with the pandemic.
The Chinese government has defended its approach, saying it cooperates fully with the WHO
In the 123-page report, scientists identified several theories that might explain how the virus first spread to humans. The Associated Press released the results of the document for the first time on Monday.
The report was written by a team of 17 scientists from around the world and 17 Chinese scientists. The experts led a 27-day fact-finding visit to Wuhan in January and February.
During the visit to Wuhan, Chinese officials Refuse to share raw data About some of the possible early virus cases with the WHO team, to the disappointment of some visiting scientists.
China’s lack of transparency and other concerns prompted a small group of scientists not affiliated with the World Health Organization to call this month for New inquiry At the origin of the epidemic. They said that such an investigation should take into account the possibility of the virus escaping from a laboratory in Wuhan or infecting a person inside.
The leak theory has been promoted in the lab by some officials in the Trump administration, including Dr. Robert RedfieldThe former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in comments to CNN last week. He did not provide any evidence and confirmed his opinion; This theory has been widely rejected by scientists and US intelligence officials.
Matt Abuzo contributed to the report.