The World Health Organization has brought forward a report recently that claims that the Coronavirus was spread to people from animals. According to the WHO report, the virus spread from animals to humans almost a month or two before it was noticed in December of 2019. Experts are still attempting to search for the origins of the Coronavirus.
WHO Says Coronavirus Spread To People From Animals
Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement on Tuesday, “As far as WHO is concerned, all hypotheses remain on the table. This report is a very important beginning, but it is not the end. We have not yet found the source of the virus, and we must continue to follow the science and leave no stone unturned as we do.”
The WHO report explained four possible scenarios that could have resulted in the transmission of the Coronavirus to humans. The report shows two scenarios are unlikely to have occurred and can no longer be considered. One scenario highlights the possibility that the virus was transmitted to humans via an animal host. The report considers the possibility of the virus being originally found in a wild animal that had been captured and brought to a farm.
The investigation is yet to bring forth any evidence showing which animal is the original host of the Coronavirus. However, the bat is still considered to be the most likely original since of the virus. The WHO report on the same states, “The possible intermediate host of SARS-CoV-2 remains elusive.”
While running through the possible origins of the virus, the report considers the likelihood of the Coronavirus being transmitted directly from a bat or a pangolin that is known to be the carrier of a similar Coronavirus. The investigation also considers the possibility of being spread through cold food products. Another scenario is that the virus was introduced due to a laboratory incident but that view has been discarded and considered “an extremely unlikely pathway.”
Many governments released a joint statement expressing concern about how WHO is conducting the study. The governments of the United States, Australia, Canada, Czechia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom jointly came together to push for a study that looked into the origin of the Covid 19 virus in China. The governments stressed the need for evaluations on the virus to be done independently and transparently with access to be given for all relevant data now as well as for future events.
According to the government’s joint statement on Tuesday, they said, “We join in expressing shared concerns regarding the recent WHO-convened study in China, while at the same time reinforcing the importance of working together toward the development and use of a swift, effective, transparent, science-based, and independent process for international evaluations of such outbreaks of unknown origin in the future.”
The WHO report was written and conducted by an international team of scientists that consisted of 17 Chinese scientists and 17 scientists hailing from other countries, the WHO, the Global Outbreak Alert, and Response Network (GOARN), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). According to Peter Ben Embarek, one of the members of the WHO investigation team, the initial goal of the scientists was to study which animal the Coronavirus originated from. This is the reason for the lack of details surrounding the lab leak theory.
“The team was put together to do studies into the zoonotic origin of this virus. Since this was not the key or main focus of the studies, it did not receive the same depth of attention and work as the other hypotheses,” Ben Embarek explains while discussing the lack of depth of detail regarding the lab leak theory in the WHO report.