Corona: WHO sharply criticizes China

"Simply inexcusable": A WHO expert criticized China's cooperation in researching the pandemic with unusual sharpness.

Among other things, this involves data from Wuhan, where the first corona cases occurred.

In sharp words, a representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) demanded that China participate in research into the corona virus. The highest-ranking Covid-19 expert at the WHO, Maria Van Kerkhove, criticized in the renowned US journal Science that Chinese scientists had withheld virus sample data from Wuhan for three years. “The lack of disclosure of data is simply inexcusable,” wrote the epidemiologist, who has been informing the world public about the corona situation since the first infections in Wuhan became known.

Only received relevant information last month

The WHO only learned about certain genetic information from the central Chinese metropolis in mid-March this year after it was briefly accessible on an international database. According to Van Kerkhove, the data provide important clues as to the importance of a market in Wuhan for the original spread of the virus. However, blood tests from workers at the live animal markets in Wuhan or the farms of origin of the animals are still necessary.

The WHO expert called for relevant data on the origin of the virus to be made available immediately. The more time elapses, the more difficult the research work, which is important for preventing future outbreaks, becomes.

All hypotheses remain on the table

At the beginning of March, statements by FBI Director Christopher Wray in the United States rekindled speculation about a laboratory glitch in China as the origin of the corona virus. Van Kerkhove emphasized that as long as there is not enough information, all hypotheses about the origin of the virus are maintained. China has not yet provided the results of its laboratory tests. In addition, the WHO still has no access to raw data on the first corona cases in China.

Since the pandemic began, China has feared that the country would be blamed for the global outbreak. The government and state media have since pursued a massive disinformation campaign that highlights the possibility that the virus may have come from abroad and not originated in China.

The rivalry with the US and the debate over the laboratory thesis have increasingly politicized the question of the origin of the virus. A joint commission of inquiry with WHO experts was only able to travel to Wuhan in 2021. The investigation was not continued.


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