WHO urges any country with information on COVID origins to open up after FBI said Wuhan lab leak was ‘most likely cause’ and China furiously denied
- Covid-19 is estimated to have killed more than 6.8 million people worldwide so far
- Chinese officials angrily denied the FBI’s claims that Covid was leaking from a laboratory in Wuhan
The World Health Organization has urged countries to reveal what they know about the origins of Covid-19, following US claims of a Chinese lab leak and furious denials from Beijing.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today that any country with knowledge of the origins of the virus, which is estimated to have killed more than 6.8 million people worldwide, should tell the truth.
He said it would increase understanding of the virus and help the international community prepare for possible future pandemics.
Chinese officials have angrily denied the allegation, calling it a smear campaign against Beijing.
Christopher Wray told Fox News on Tuesday that the FBI had now determined that the source of the Covid-19 pandemic was “most likely a possible lab incident in Wuhan.”
Chinese officials have angrily denied the FBI claim. Pictured: Security personnel stand guard outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Feb. 3
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (center) said today that any country with knowledge of the origin of the virus should tell the truth
“If a country has information about the origin of the pandemic, it is essential that that information is shared with WHO and the international scientific community,” WHO director-general said.
“Not to blame, but to increase our understanding of how this pandemic started so that we can prevent, prepare for and respond to future epidemics and pandemics,” he told a news conference.
“The WHO has not given up any plans to trace the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he stressed.
In 2021, the United Nations health organization established the so-called Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens, which identified key studies needed in China and elsewhere to test hypotheses about the origins of the pandemic.
“WHO continues to call on China to be transparent in sharing data and to conduct necessary studies and share the results,” Tedros said, adding that he had written and spoken to top Chinese leaders on multiple occasions.
“Until then, all hypotheses about the origin of the virus remain on the table,” he said.
But he added that the continued politicization of origin research turned a purely scientific process into a geopolitical football, making the task more difficult — and therefore the world less safe.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said the US claims were a “politicization” of theories about the origin of COVID-19
Virologist Shi Zheng-li (left) at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in central China’s Hubei province, 23 February 2017
At the end of 2019, the first infections were registered in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Wray’s comments come after a report earlier this week said the US Department of Energy determined a leak from a Chinese lab was the most likely cause of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The department works with a network of national laboratories, including some that conduct advanced biological research. Other agencies within the US intelligence community believe the virus originated naturally.