WHO urges US to share information on COVID-19 origins

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After US claims of China Lab leaks, Dr. Tedros A. Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), has said politicalizing the COVID-19 virus is making it difficult for scientists to determine its origin urging the international community to reveal what they know about the virus. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has encouraged countries to share information concerning COVID-19 after US agencies claimed a Chinese lab leak was the primary cause for the virus outbreak originating in Wuhan, however, the Beijing administration has denied the claims. On Friday, Dr. Tedros A. Ghebreyesus said that if any country has information about the origins of the Coronavirus, “it’s essential for that information to be shared with WHO and the international scientific community”.

Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Christopher Wray, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) claimed his agency had “assessed” the source of the virus and determined that it “most likely” resulted in a “potential lab incident in Wuhan”. 

It is worth mentioning that the earliest infections of the virus were recorded in China’s Wuhan region, in 2019. Despite the US claims of a lab break in Wuhan, Chinese officials have denied the reports terming it a ‘smear campaign’. 

On the other hand, Ghebreyesus has stressed that the WHO is interested in advancing their “understanding of how this pandemic started so we can prevent, prepare for and respond to future epidemics and pandemics”. 

Earlier, the WHO established the Scientific Advisory Group for Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) in 2021, to determine the origins of the pandemic. 

On the other hand, the Director General has called upon China “to be transparent in sharing data” so that the global organization can investigate the results. He said, “Until then, all hypotheses on the origins of the virus remain on the table.”

According to reports of The Guardian, Wray’s comments come a week after the US Department of Energy made similar claims of a Chinese lab leak leading to the pandemic. Meanwhile, other US agencies are of the opinion the virus may have originated “naturally”.Speaking on the issue, Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for WHO said for the future of scientific progress, “It remains vital that that information is shared”.Acknowledging that true estimates may be much higher than the recorded cases, WHO confirmed over 6.8 million deaths have been reported due to COVID-19 with more than 758 million confirmed cases.

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