WHO Scopes out Probe into Virus’s Origins

The WHO has completed its initial scoping mission to China on the origins of SARS-CoV2, CIDRAP reports, setting the stage for a deeper epidemiological investigation.

Despite an initial global focus on the Wuhan seafood market where the first known cases were discovered, “there are gaps in the epidemiological landscape,” WHO emergencies chief Mike Ryan said at a Geneva press conference yesterday, Foreigner.fi reports.

“The fact that that fire alarm was triggered [in Wuhan] doesn’t necessarily mean that that is where the disease crossed from animals to human,” Ryan said.

The WHO advance team received updates on epidemiological studies, biologic and genetic analysis and animal health research from scientists in Wuhan, according to Reuters, setting the groundwork for a broader mission to involve Chinese and international experts.

Plans for the next phase were drafted but have not yet been shared publicly. Questions abound over the team’s composition and scope—such as whether Beijing will allow unfettered access, and whether US experts could be excluded, given the Trump administration’s plans to abandon the WHO.

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