While it is premature to exclude the version that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, appeared in the laboratory of the Chinese city of Wuhan and spread due to a leak, said the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adan Ghebreyesus, writes AP.
“I myself was a laboratory assistant, I am an immunologist, I worked in a laboratory and I know that incidents happen in the laboratory. It happens, ”he explained.
Gebreyesus stressed that checking what happened is very important in order to understand whether the pandemic had any ties to the laboratories. “We need information, direct information about what was the situation in this laboratory before and at the beginning of the pandemic,” he said, explaining that China's cooperation is crucial here. “If we get complete information, we can rule out [the lab version],” Gebreyesus said. He also called on China for open and transparent cooperation, “especially in terms of information, initial data that we requested in the early days of the pandemic.”
Earlier this year, a WHO special mission traveled to Wuhan, where the first infected with the coronavirus were identified, to investigate the causes of the pandemic. Experts considered four versions of the origin of the virus: direct human infection from bats, transmission of the virus from an intermediate animal, transmission through the food chain and artificial origin, that is, its creation in a laboratory.
However, already in February, the mission announced the preliminary results of the investigation, according to which it ruled out the creation of a virus in the laboratory. The final report was published at the end of March and it also indicated that the version of the spread of the virus due to an incident in the laboratory is considered “extremely unlikely.”
There is no consensus among countries as to what is most likely to cause the pandemic. So, British intelligence and other services of Western countries in the spring changed their minds about the possible origin of the coronavirus and began to consider its leak from the laboratory plausible.
The head of the US National Institutes of Health (under the Department of Health and Human Services) Francis Collins, in turn, explained that there is no evidence of an incident in a Chinese laboratory.