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Last Chance to Find COVID-19 Origins: WHO

By Antonio Gozain | Fri, 10/15/2021 - 13:21

WHO nominated 26 experts from different countries to join the Scientific Advisory Group on the Origins of Novel Pathogens body (SAGO) to research COVID-19’s origins, in what could be the "last chance to understand the origins of this virus," said Michael Ryan, Director of Emergencies, WHO.

Almost two years after the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, the question of how it emerged remains unanswered. SAGO experts will determine if the virus jumped from animals to humans in Wuhan markets or leaked in a lab accident, a theory “strongly refuted” by China, reported BBC.

SAGO’s research will be the second effort by WHO to find the virus’s origins, following February’s expedition to China, when researchers concluded that the virus had probably come from bats but more work was needed. However, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, WHO, later said that the investigation had been obstructed by the lack of information and transparency from Chinese authorities.

"Understanding where new pathogens come from is essential for preventing future outbreaks," said Tedros, who wrote on the jounal Science that “a lab accident cannot be ruled out.” US President Joe Biden ordered intelligence officials to intensify their efforts to investigate the origins of COVID-19, including the lab theory. "Smear campaigns and blame shifting are making a comeback and the conspiracy theory of 'lab leak' is resurfacing," said China’s embassy in the US in response.

The 26 experts who will research the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan include six scientists who had already visited China in February. Alongside COVID-19, SAGO will investigate the origins of other high-risk pathogens during their time in China. As tensions between the US and China continue rising, Chen Xu, China’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said that SAGO’s work should not be policitized: “it is time to send teams to other places.”

The Lab-Leak Theory suggests that the virus may have escaped, “accidentally or otherwise,” from a laboratory located in Wuhan, China, where the virus was first noticed. The Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been studying coronaviruses in bats for over a decade, is 40 minutes away from the Huanan wet market, where the first infection outbreak emerged in Wuhan, reported BBC.

Mexico Surpasses 127 million COVID-19 Doses

Mexico received 415,000 first-component Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines this Friday, amounting a total of 9.4 million Sputnik V doses received. The country has received a total of 88.9 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, CanSino, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, said on a statement the Ministry of Health.

In the meantime, Liomont has packed in Mexico 29.2 million AstraZeneca vaccines, while Drugmex has packed 8.9 million CanSino doses, which combined with the millions imported, amount to 127.1 million vaccines that have been available in the country throughout 2021.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, WHO, BBC, Ministry of Health
Antonio Gozain Antonio Gozain Journalist and Industry Analyst