WHO global study on Covid origins ‘important first step’, says India

The World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland | Photo: Pierre Virot | www.who.int

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New Delhi: India on Friday termed the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global study on the origins of COVID-19 as an “important first step” and stressed the need for next phase studies to reach robust conclusions.

In response to media queries on WHO convened global study on the origin of COVID-19, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the follow up of the WHO report and further studies deserve the “understanding and cooperation” of all. “The WHO convened global study on the origins of COVID-19 is an important first step. It stressed the need for next phase studies as also for further data and studies to reach robust conclusions,” he said in a statement.

“The follow up of the WHO report and further studies deserve the understanding and cooperation of all,” he added.

New Delhi’s response comes amid reports that the WHO is expected to restudy the “dominant theory” that the SARS-CoV-2 probably originated and spread across the world from China’s Wuhan lab.

According to CNN, previously overlooked Chinese data on extensive screening of animals for coronavirus around the time the pandemic erupted is among several areas identified for further study by WHO scientists investigating the origins of the virus, as per a source.

The records are contained in a nearly 200-page annexe posted alongside the WHO panel’s March report that received little attention among global experts at the time.

However, no date has been set for the team’s return to China, but the source said any future visit to the country — where the virus emerged in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, in late 2019 — may involve “smaller groups supporting specific studies first.

The WHO team investigating the origins of coronavirus visited the Hubei Center for animal disease control and prevention in Wuhan on February 2, 2021.

Also read: Natural or Chinese lab-made? Biden orders US spies to investigate Covid virus origin


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