Search for origin of Covid-19 'poisoned by politics', says WHO expert

We would like for everyone out there to separate politics of this issue from the science, says Mike Ryan


Reuters May 28, 2021
The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 29, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) top emergency expert said on Friday the search for the origin of the coronavirus was being "poisoned by politics", days after US President Joe Biden ordered aides to find answers.

Since the virus outbreak that emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, scientists have been trying to solve the puzzle of where the virus originated.

"We would like for everyone out there to separate, if they can, the politics of this issue from the science. This whole process is being poisoned by politics," Mike Ryan told reporters.

Read more: Pakistan detects first case of Indian Covid-19 variant

 WHO-led team spent four weeks in and around Wuhan with Chinese researchers and said in a report in March that the virus had probably been transmitted from bats to humans through another animal.

It said that "introduction through a laboratory incident was considered to be an extremely unlikely pathway".

But many politicians and a number of scientists are not satisfied.

Also read: Indian Covid-19 variant found in 44 countries: WHO

Biden on Wednesday ordered aides to find answers to the virus' origin, saying US intelligence agencies were pursuing rival theories, potentially including the possibility of a laboratory accident in China.

The United States on Thursday called on the WHO to carry out a second probe.

"Every country and every entity is free to pursue their own particular theories of origin, it's a free world," Ryan said. "WHO is a member state organisation and we seek to work with all of our member states to seek answers collectively."

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead on Covid-19, added that the issue required multiple missions and would take time.

E-Publications

Most Read

RELATED

COMMENTS

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ