The Lingering Mystery

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The World Health Organization (WHO) will not continue its investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, citing difficulties in collaborating with China, Politico reported Wednesday.

The scientific advisory group tasked with investigating the origin of the virus called last year for new studies, including audits of labs near where the original outbreak was first documented in Wuhan, China.

In its March 2021 report, the WHO investigation team outlined four possible scenarios for the outbreak, the most likely being the virus spread from bats to people, possibly through an intermediate species.

That report initially concluded that the hypothesis that the virus accidentally escaped from a lab was “extremely unlikely.”

Even so, the theory that Covid-19 was leaked from a lab has persisted, with the most recent WHO study advocating for additional research because of the lack of new data.

But the WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, told the journal Nature that “there is no phase two” – referring to the organization’s plan to probe the outbreak in phases.

Kerkhove noted that WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has continued to urge China to be more transparent and share raw data, but Beijing has refused.

“The politics across the world of this really hampered progress on understanding the origins,” she added.

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