WHO Urges China to Share Information on COVID-19 Origins as All Hypotheses Remain on the Table

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The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has urged China to share its information about the origins of COVID-19. He emphasized that all hypotheses remain on the table, more than three years after the virus first emerged. Tedros stated that without full access to the information that China has, it is impossible to determine how or where the virus started. The virus was first identified in Wuhan in December 2019, and it is suspected to have spread in a live animal market before spreading globally and killing nearly 7 million people. However, in a non-peer-reviewed study published by the Nature journal this week, scientists with China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention have disputed the international team's findings that suggested animal species including raccoon dogs were likely conduits of the disease.

The WHO's technical lead for COVID-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, said the latest Chinese information offers clues on origins but no answers. She added that the WHO is working with scientists to find out more about the earliest cases from 2019, such as the whereabouts of those infected. However, the WHO still does not know whether some of the research required has been undertaken in China. Moreover, the WHO has asked the United States for original data that underpinned a recent study by the U.S. Energy Department that suggested a laboratory leak in China had likely caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

The WHO has been urging China to be cooperative in sharing its information about COVID-19's origins, and it continues to stress the importance of knowing how the virus started. The lack of transparency and cooperation from China has hindered investigations into COVID-19's origins, making it difficult for scientists to draw definitive conclusions. The WHO has called on China to provide full access to the information it holds about the virus and its origins, in the hope of finding answers to the many unanswered questions about COVID-19.

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