The visit has been sensitive for China — which will be worried about any allegations it didn’t handle the initial outbreak — and has been closely watched around the globe.
“We’ve got clear effects on which the next steps ought to be,” he explained. “We know a whole lot more after the job that has been completed.”
The team’s major decisions seemed to confirm what most researchers had already surmised regarding the virus. The visit was not expected to definitively pinpoint the source of this pandemic — an undertaking that, based on others, could take years.
Here’s a look at the notions the team explored during their trip:
The assignment to Wuhan did not change a major concept about where the virus came out. Scientists think bats are the most likely carriers, which they handed it on to a different creature, which handed it on to people. When there are different possibilities — a bat could have infected a human straight, for instance — the route through another creature remains the most likely situation, based on the WHO team and its Chinese counterparts. The question is what animal and where.
Even the Huanan Seafood Market, that had a cluster of cases at the start of the outbreak, was initially suspected as the location where people became contaminated. The discovery of earlier cases has ruled out that theory, but scientists still wish to understand how this ancient cluster happened.
That included rabbits, which are proven to be vulnerable to the virus, along with bamboo worms and ferret badgers, which are supposed to being susceptible. In the WHO assignment’s closing news conference Tuesday, one team member said a few of these animals have been tracked to farms or traders in areas which are home to bats that take the virus that is the closest known relative of the one which causes COVID-19.
The virus could also have been introduced to the marketplace by an infected person. Chinese health officials notice that surfaces in the market tested positive for the virus, not one of those animal products. A Chinese official said Tuesday that it appears there were cases everywhere in Wuhan around the exact same time as the industry cluster, so the transfer of this virus from animals to humans might have occurred elsewhere.
The conclusion of the Chinese and global experts was that it’s very unlikely the virus discharged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a laboratory with a broad collection of virus samples. Former U.S. President Donald Trump and officials in his administration had been one of those who jumped that chance — prompting angry denials out of China. And many specialists have long been skeptical of it.
In making its determination, the team stated that such escapes are extremely rare and there is no evidence the virus existed in that lab or any lab anywhere in the world when the pandemic began. It also reviewed security protocols in the institute, leading the team to conclude”it was quite unlikely that anything can escape from such a place,” WHO team leader Peter Ben Embarek explained.
THE COLD CHAIN
The combined analysis left open the possibility that the virus might have been spread to humans through frozen food items, a bit of a surprise as foreign specialists have generally played down the threat.
It’s a theory that has been widely promoted by Chinese officials, who’ve discovered the virus on imported frozen food packaging and captured on that to indicate the virus might have come to China from abroad.
“Its not the cold chain by itself, that cannot be,” she stated in the airport. “The virus has to come from someplace.”
The assignment has been dogged by questions about how much liberty China would provide the researchers to see the areas and speak with the individuals they wanted to. In the long run, they seemed satisfied with the agreements, at least in their public remarks. Team member Thea Koelsen Fischer stated she did not have to see raw information and had to rely upon an analysis of the information that was introduced to her. But she said that could be accurate in many states. ——
Moritsugu reported by Beijing.