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WHO Calls on All Nations to Share COVID-19 Origin Intelligence


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The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on all countries to disclose what information they have about the origins of COVID-19, following US allegations of a laboratory leak in China.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told Fox News Television on Tuesday that the FBI has now assessed the source of the COVID-19 pandemic as “most likely a possible laboratory accident in Wuhan.”

The first cases of the new coronavirus were recorded in late 2019 in the Chinese city that hosts the virus research laboratory.

Chinese officials angrily denied the FBI’s allegations, calling it a smear campaign against Beijing.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “If any country has information about the origins of the pandemic, it is imperative that it share this information with the WHO and the international scientific community.”

“Not to apportion blame but to enhance our understanding of how this pandemic began so that we can prevent, prepare for, and respond to future epidemics and pandemics.

“The WHO has not abandoned any plans to determine the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he told reporters.

WHO urges transparency

In 2021, the United Nations health agency created the Scientific Advisory Group on the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) to look into the origins of the pandemic.

“The WHO continues to call on China to be transparent in sharing data, conducting necessary investigations and sharing findings,” Tedros said, adding that he has written and spoken to top Chinese leaders on multiple occasions.

Until then, all hypotheses about the origins of the virus remain on the table.

But, he added, the politicization of origin research has made scientific work more difficult – and as a result the world has become less safe.

The comments from the FBI chief followed a report earlier this week that said the US Department of Energy determined that a leak in a Chinese laboratory was the most likely cause of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The department works with a network of national laboratories, including some involved in advanced biological research. Other agencies within the US intelligence community believe that the virus emerged naturally.

Data sharing, says WHO

WHO has reached out to the US mission in Geneva for more information, said Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for COVID-19 at WHO.

So far, they haven’t had access to the data that the US reports are based on, said Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist.

“Sharing this information remains vital” to help move scientific studies forward, she added.

Tedros said there is a moral imperative to know how the pandemic began, for the sake of the millions who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and those who have been living with COVID-19 for a long time.

More than 6.8 million deaths from COVID-19 and more than 758 million confirmed cases have been reported to the World Health Organization, which acknowledges that the true number is much higher.

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