Member of WHO's Wuhan Investigative Team Faults US Intel on COVID

Ross Houston
February 13, 2021

W.H.O. investigators also said Chinese officials waited far too long - over a year, to be exact - before conducting antibody tests on a group of about 90 hospital patients in central China who reported symptoms similar to the Chinese coronavirus before the outbreak officially began in Wuhan.

"If cases remain mostly mild and moderate and don't require critical care then we can save many lives".

The Associated Press reported that while Tedros was publicly praising China, WHO experts were privately complaining they weren't getting vital information from China.

In most cases, she said, it would be usual for outsiders to get access to "aggregated data".

In addition to sampling more wild animal reservoirs - especially bats - in and outside China, Ben Embarek suggested re-testing samples using "new approaches" to blood tests and looking for more early cases that went undetected in Wuhan in December 2019.

Chinese officials have suggested the virus originated in a wet market in Wuhan where wild animal meat is sold, but have also blamed the US military and said it originated in another country.

However, Dutch virologist and World Health Organization team member Marion Koopmans said that species more susceptible to the virus - including bamboo rats, badgers and rabbits - were sold at Wuhan's Huanan market, the site of an early virus cluster, and could be an entry point for trace-back investigations.

The team called for further investigation into the possibility of "cold chain" transmission, referring to the transport and trade of frozen food.

He was speaking on Friday at a news conference alongside Peter Ben Embarek, who headed the team.

First, they said they still don't know the origin of the pandemic, not surprising since that would have been hard to determine if they'd been allowed into China to do research back in January 2020 at the start of the outbreak, as opposed to more than a year later.

The criticism from Daszak came in response to comments Tuesday from the U.S. Department of State, which expressed skepticism about the investigation's findings.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has expressed a desire to scrutinize data used by the World Health Organization team, which concluded that the virus causing COVID-19 did not originate in a laboratory in Wuhan.

Tedros also cautioned, as he had in prior briefings, that the mission would not find all the answers, but he said it has added important information that takes us closer to understanding the origins of the virus.

Eager to deflect global criticism over its initial handling of the outbreak, China has also amplified studies suggesting some COVID-19 cases emerged in Italy and other countries in late 2019.

Other reports by iNewsToday