China is reshaping the pandemic’s origin story ahead of the arrival of WHO investigators, Reuters reports.
Although a comprehensive picture of the virus’s trajectory is crucial, the WHO team will likely face political roadblocks to investigating certain theories—like whether the outbreak was triggered by a leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
China denies that COVID-19 originated there, emphasizing an Italian study that found evidence of the virus in Europe months before China reported its first case.
But scientists are calling for Beijing to be transparent about any findings that the virus was circulating in China before December 2019. Many studies that could offer clues have been kept under wraps, Reuters notes.
And Not: China has been long been accused of concealing key outbreak information. Late last month, citizen journalist Zhang Zhan—who reported on Wuhan’s outbreak—was jailed for 4 years for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” BBC reports.