The United States has called for a second phase of an investigation into the origins of coronavirus. It said on Tuesday that international experts should be allowed to evaluate the source of the coronavirus and the “early days of the outbreak”
Recent reports claimed that researchers at a Chinese virology laboratory were seriously ill in 2019, just a month before the first cases of coronavirus were reported.
Origins of coronavirus remain a mystery
The US intelligence agencies are examining these reports, US government sources told Reuters. However, they cautioned that there was still no proof the coronavirus originated at the lab .
“Phase 2 of the COVID origins study must be launched with terms of reference that are transparent, science-based, and give international experts the independence to fully assess the source of the virus and the early days of the outbreak,” US health secretary Xavier Becerra said in a video message to the annual ministerial meeting of the World Health Organization.
However, Becerra did not directly mention China, where the first cases of coronavirus were reported in Wuhan in December 2019.
Phase 1 of probe
A report co-written by a WHO-led team and Chinese scientists was issued in March. The WHO-led team spent four weeks in Wuhan in January and February. It said the virus had probably been transmitted from bats to humans through another animal and that “introduction through a laboratory incident was considered to be an extremely unlikely pathway”.
A WHO spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic, told Reuters that the agency was reviewing the report’s recommendations at the technical level.
“The technical teams will prepare a proposal for the next studies that will need to be carried out, and will present that to the Director-General for his consideration,” he said, referring to WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.