WHO report finds coronavirus probably emerged in bats, 'extremely unlikely' to be results of lab leak

The findings are the results of a joint study by Chinese scientists and a WHO-led team that was in China last month to research the virus's origin.

WHO report finds coronavirus probably emerged in bats, 'extremely unlikely' to be results of lab leak
WHO report finds coronavirus probably emerged in bats, 'extremely unlikely' to be results of lab leak

The coronavirus is probably going to possess emerged in bats and spread to a different animal before it jumped into the human population, consistent with a study from the planet Health Organization and Chinese scientists that's scheduled to be released Tuesday.The 123-page report, which NBC News obtained before its release, also found that it's "extremely unlikely" that the virus leaked from a lab, a theory that has flourished among China skeptics albeit it's based largely on indirect evidence .

The findings are the results of a joint study by Chinese scientists and a WHO-led team that was in China last month to research the virus's origin. The inquiry has been the middle of political tensions from its start; Biden administration officials have faulted China for what they assert may be a lack of transparency about how the virus emerged. Other critics said the inquiry was insufficient because many of the Chinese scientists involved it are affiliated with government-run institutions and since the investigators did not have full access to lab records and data .

In the report, the research team detailed the foremost likely scenarios that caused the virus to spill over into humans, but many questions remain unanswered. Identifying the source of an epidemic which may take years — or maybe decades — is a crucial way for scientists to know the emergence of infectious diseases and stop similar outbreaks.

The most likely route of transmission, the researchers said, was from bats into humans through an intermediate animal host. transmission mechanism from bats to humans was also thought to be a "possible-to-likely pathway."The report recommended additional research for those and other scenarios, including retrospective studies of the earliest known cases that were tied to a seafood market in Wuhan, China.

The Wuhan market was the location of the primary reported cluster of human cases, but the WHO report said it isn't clear whether that was the initial source of the outbreak.Marion Koopmans, a Dutch virologist who was a member of the WHO delegation, said in an interview this month that while the primary major clusters were reported in Wuhan, it isn't known needless to say whether the virus originated there.

Koopmans said the investigation found no credible evidence that the coronavirus leaked from a lab. The lab leak hypothesis was touted by President Donald Trump and last promoted by Dr. Robert Redfield, the previous director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."I am of the purpose of view that I still think the foremost likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory. Escaped," Redfield said in an interview with CNN on Friday. "Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out."

At a White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing later Friday, the government's top communicable disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci , director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Redfield "was just expressing an opinion. "Pinning down the origin of an epidemic are often a lengthy process, and while the WHO study said that a lab leak remains “extremely unlikely,” it said it’s impossible to completely rule it out.

Robert Garry, a virologist at Tulane University School of drugs who wasn't involved the WHO investigation, said the research team was right to largely dismiss the thought that the virus leaked from a lab. a few year ago, Garry and his colleagues analyzed the genome sequence of the coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan and determined that the virus was likely to possess evolved from nature. In other words, the scientists found no evidence that the virus was engineered or altered during a research center .

Garry said more research are going to be needed to know the virus's origin but added that the painstaking work is crucial to guard against similar or worse outbreaks. Understanding how the coronavirus emerged in bats or other species "will provide critical data on the evolution and ecology of potential pathogens, guidance for detecting their emergence and suggest solutions for design of appropriate countermeasures," Garry said.

[ news source nbcnews ]

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