The United States has refused to accept the latest findings by the World Health Organization which said that there is no evidence of coronavirus circulation in any animal species in China and said it will independently verify the results using its own intelligence.
“We look forward, again, to seeing the report, to seeing the underlying data, to using what we may have within our own reach based on our own intelligence and analysis to corroborate what the WHO has found and to reach our own conclusions,” said Ned Price, US State Department Spokesperson, on Tuesday.
He further said, “Clearly, the Chinese, at least heretofore, has not offered the requisite transparency that we need and that, just as importantly, the international community needs so that we can prevent these sorts of pandemics from ever happening again.”
The remarks have been condemned by WHO expert Peter Daszak, who responded by requesting people not to “rely too much on US intel”.
“Well now, this. Joe Biden has to look tough on China. Please don’t rely too much on US intel: increasingly disengaged under Trump and frankly wrong on many aspects,” he said, in a tweet.
Weeks after a team of World Health Organization experts launched a probe into the origin of the COVID-19 in Wuhan, on Tuesday, it said that there is no evidence of coronavirus circulation in any animal species in China.
Speaking at a press conference, Peter Ben Embarek, the head of the WHO mission in Wuhan, stated four hypotheses on how the virus spread but reiterated that “laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus into the human population”.
“It has not been possible to pinpoint any animal species as a potential reservoir for this disease, and they indicate that currently and also back in 2019 it does not look like there was the circulation of the virus in any animal species in the country,” he said.
He further said that “four main hypotheses or groups of hypotheses” have been identified on how the COVID-19 virus might have introduced among the humans.
The four key hypothesis are: direct zoonotic spillover; introduction through intermediary host species; food chain, frozen food products, surface transmission; and finally a laboratory-related incident, he explained.
“Our initial findings suggest that introduction through an intermediary host species is the most likely passway and one that will require more studies and more specific targeted research … The findings suggest that a laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus into the human population,” he said.
Speaking on whether the virus got leaked from Wuhan’s institute of virology, he said, “We also looked at Wuhan’s institute of virology … the laboratory and the state of the laboratory, and it was very unlikely that anything could escape from such a place. We also know that lab incidents are, of course, extremely rare.”