Coronavirus: WHO Team Investigates Covid-19 Origins in Wuhan, China

Date: 2021-02-05 04:45:49


A World Health Organization scientific team in China to investigate the origins of the coronavirus visited the Wuhan laboratory that’s been at the center of months of speculation over how the disease jumped to humans.

The international group of scientists was at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, home to a high-tech laboratory that studies some of the world’s most infectious diseases, on Wednesday morning.

The Wuhan lab has been the target of frenzied speculation since the crisis emerged a year ago, as researchers there study highly contagious pathogens, including bat-borne coronaviruses like the one that causes Covid-19. Members of the Trump administration repeatedly claimed that there was evidence that SARS-CoV-2 escaped from or was deliberately leaked by the lab, though they didn’t back those accusations with proof.

China has denied any link and the topic is politically taboo locally. Shi Zhengli — a researcher at the institute known as “Bat Woman” for her expeditions to bat caves — said in interviews that SARS-CoV-2’s genetic sequencing does not match any that the lab had previously studied and that none of its staffers were infected.

In the past week, the experts have also visited the Huanan seafood market where the first infections emerged, two major Wuhan hospitals that treated patients when it was unknown what they were afflicted with, and an animal disease center.

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