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The World Health Organization has announced a new group of experts to investigate the origin of COVID-19 but China is getting in the way again

Security personnel monitor the exterior of the Wuhan Institute of Virology during a visit by the World Health Organization team responsible for investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Wuhan, Hubei Province. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

This is last Wednesday World Health Organization Advertise a list 26 members Suggested to integrate Scientific advisory group on the origins of new pathogensOh sago for its abbreviation in English. Experts will be dedicated exclusively to Understanding the origins of the coronavirus and other potential outbreaks in the future. Its diverse composition – comprising members from 26 different countries whose abilities, ethnicity, place of residence and gender were taken into account – is designed to avoid the problems that plagued the latest WHO-backed attempt on the issue.

On that occasion, 10 international experts joined forces with Chinese researchers during a visit to WuhanHowever, World Health Organization officials have stated that The case’s excessive politicization attacked the information-gathering process and the study ended up with “inconclusive results”.. In this sense, the task of the new group is to overcome the previous experience hampered by the Chinese regime. However, this obstacle appears again along the way, according to an article in the newspaper Washington Post.

Cooperation with China seems more like a dream than a reality. Repeated times in the country She was reluctant to provide information and cooperate with experts from other countries In their quest to get to the root of the epidemic. While the WHO leader has been criticized several times, Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus, and the object itself due to its supposed proximity to Beijing The conclusion of the last study revealed the differences between the two.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.  EFE / EPA / Laurent Gillieron
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. EFE / EPA / Laurent Gillieron

Tedros publicly criticized the outcome of that report, which indicated that the idea that COVID-19 It came out of the Wuhan lab “highly unlikely” and does not deserve further investigation.

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Peter Ben Mubarak, who was the leader of the expert team, implied in an interview that Writing this was the result of pressure from their Chinese colleagues. This Wednesday, in editorial Published in the magazine ScienceTedros and other WHO officials have stated that the laboratory leakage theory cannot be ruled out unless there is sufficient evidence for it. “Laboratory hypotheses should be carefully examined, focusing on the laboratories where the first reports of human infection appeared in Wuhan.Officials wrote.

But from the point of view of the Chinese regime, the investigation into the origin of the virus in its territory has been completed and there are no reasons to continue investigating the case. and being sago An exclusive advisory committee, whose impact will be limited by definition. The group will only be able to make recommendations to the World Health Organization, which in turn can ask member states to hand over records and documents or allow them to conduct an investigation on their soil, but cannot force them to cooperate if they do not want to. Let’s do it. thus, China’s reluctance to continue to investigate its responsibility in this matter appears to be an insurmountable obstacle.

In any case, The hypothesis of the virus leaking from the laboratory is not the only one in vol. This week, journalists from Washington Post Eva Dou And Michael Standart They went to the caves of the province Inchi, a rural area in the province of China Hubei Six hours drive from Wuhan. There are some unique Karst caves that are approximately 60 kilometers long and are home to many species of bats. And around it the small farms were prevalent, gathered together in the house Hundreds of thousands of wild animalsAt least until December 2019 when Chinese authorities began cracking down on the wildlife trade in the area. But the Chinese government has done little or nothing, or at least not released the information, to determine whether these bats or farm animals are infected with SARS-Cov-2.

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We really need to know more about the viruses that circulate in those bats.he said to Washington Post Michael Worbyevolutionary biologist, University of Arizona. “That kind of proximity to farm animals and bats that could be carriers of the coronavirus is exactly the kind of thing we’re concerned about.“.

Peter Benmbarek and other members of the World Health Organization team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) arrive at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, on February 10, 2021. On Song
Peter Benmbarek and other members of the World Health Organization team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) arrive at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, on February 10, 2021. On Song

It remains to be seen what work SAGO will be able to do, given all its limitations, and analyze its findings. However, having a team of experts working on a regular basis – in principle they will hold weekly meetings for two years, with the possibility of an extension – is seen as an initial step in finding the origin of the epidemic and identifying the possibility of virus outbreaks, and be prepared if it recurs.

I think the greatest value will not be the virus“, She said Lawrence JustinProfessor of Global Health Law at Georgetown University, The Washington PostI think the greatest value would be to have a standing committee of experts, staunchly opposed to any conflict, with a global responsibility to investigate new pathogens“.

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