Wuhan, China: The WHO team, which is in China to track the origins of the coronavirus reportedly failed to identify the source of the pandemic which took millions of lives across the world, and the team on Tuesday ruled out the popular lab-made-virus-leak theory propagated by former US president Donald Trump.
According to experts, the disease, which has killed more than 2.3 million people worldwide, was first originated in bats and from there could have been transmitted to humans via another mammal.
Talking about the animal pathway, WHO foreign expert Peter Ben Embarek said it still is a “work in progress” as the absence of bats in the Wuhan area has dimmed the likelihood of direct transmission. It was “most likely” to have come from an intermediary species, he said, before backing up China’s position that there was no evidence of “large outbreaks in Wuhan” before December when the first official cases were recorded.
Meanwhile, Liang Wannian, head of the China side of the joint mission, said animal transmission remained the likely route, but “the reservoir hosts remain to be identified”.’
Ben Embarek also dismissed the popular theory that a leak from a virology lab in Wuhan could have caused the pandemic. “The laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely,” he said, adding it “is not in the hypotheses that we will suggest for future studies”.
The mission is deemed as a diplomatically knotted one, presaged by fears of a whitewash, with the US demanding a “robust” probe and China firing back with a warning not to “politicise” the investigation.
So far, the WHO experts have spend a month in China including two weeks in quarantine.
Referring to studies, Liang said the virus could be “carried long-distance on cold chain products”, appearing to nudge towards the possible importation of the virus, another theory that abounded in China in recent months.
Meanwhile, former US president Donald Trump popularised a controversial theory that said a lab leak in China kick started the pandemic.