He hopes to publish the final report on the mission in China “in the coming weeks”
The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has indicated that “all hypotheses remain open” about the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, after the mission in China.
“Some questions have been raised about whether some hypotheses have been ruled out. After speaking with some members of the team, I want to confirm that all hypotheses are still open and require more analysis and studies,” he detailed at a press conference this Friday from Geneva (Switzerland ).
The top president of the United Nations international health body has thanked the team of scientists who have visited the Chinese city of Wuham, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the last two weeks to find evidence that would indicate clues to the origin of the virus. “It has been a very important scientific exercise in very difficult circumstances,” he applauded.
Tedros has announced that “the team of experts is working on a report that we expect to be published next week, and the full final report will be published in the next few weeks.”
The director-general of the WHO has claimed the usefulness of the mission to Wuhan: “We have always said that this mission would not find all the answers, but it has added important information that brings us closer to understanding the origins of the virus.”
“The mission has gained a better understanding of the early days of the COVID.19 pandemic, and has identified areas for further analysis and investigation. And we will continue to work to obtain the information we need to answer the questions that remain to be answered. “, has added.
Peter Ben Embarek, specialist in Food Safety and Animal Diseases at the WHO and president of the investigation team in Wuhan, also spoke at the press conference, who was asked whether this January, a year after the first cases , it was time to conduct the study. “The investigation has been based on scientific reports carried out in China and other countries; if we had gone before we could not have done it. We would have to think in the future as investigating other outbreaks”, he has wielded.
The director of Health Emergencies of the WHO, Michael Ryan, has been questioned about whether the mission in China has been a failure due to the scarce new information that has been obtained. “In Public Health, success is a relative term, but I think we have made progress.” The area where you see the smoke does not have to be the area where the fire started, “he defended, stating that, for example, they took time” years “to understand where the Ebola virus came from.
On this same question, Embarek argues that the mission “has been successful in many ways.” “We have new knowledge and now we understand much better what happened in Wuhan in December 2019 and the role that the market played. We also know that there was no group of outbreaks in the previous months in Wuhan,” he said, indicating that, in In any case, this is only “the first step” in understanding the origin of the COVID-19 virus, something that “will take a long time.”
“We are still far from understanding the origin of the coronavirus and the chain of transmission to human beings, but before going to China we already knew that it would take time and that this was only a first step,” he added in this regard. Another member of the team, virologist Marion P. G. Koopmans, has pointed out that the trip to Wuhan has provided “clues for the new steps in the study.” “The objective was not so much to find the origin of the coronavirus, but to understand which paths had to continue to be explored,” added the expert.
Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist at WHO, has asked for patience to arrive at more definitive answers: “The report has not yet been published. There will be more information, but you have to manage expectations. You never get answers from a single mission. doing many other studies “.