China’s top disease control official admitted Sunday the country’s domestic coronavirus vaccines have low effectiveness and the Communist government is considering how to give them a boost.
Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates,” said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference in the southwestern city of Chengdu, AP reports.
Beijing has distributed hundreds of millions of doses in other countries while at the same time trying to seed doubt about competing Western products.
In May 2020, China’s president, Xi Jinping, even told the World Health Assembly its coronavirus vaccines were “a global public good”, and their distribution would be part of Xi’s vision of a “shared future for the people of the world to work as one”.
Beijing’s efforts to vaccinate its own people while exporting vaccines have drawn support abroad before the full medical outcomes have become known.
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria says Communist China has “essentially vanquished the virus without a vaccine” and has “come out of this pandemic in many ways stronger” and “is moving forward with much greater confidence in the world.” https://t.co/9yQZxvCMs0
Now questions are being asked about China’s program and the ability of its products to do what they promise.
“It’s now under formal consideration whether we should use different vaccines from different technical lines for the immunization process,” Gao said.
The effectiveness rate of a coronavirus vaccine from Sinovac, a Chinese developer, at preventing symptomatic infections has been found to be as low as 50.4 percent by researchers in Brazil. By comparison, the vaccine made by Pfizer has been found to be 97 percent effective.
No foreign vaccines are approved for use in China, where the coronavirus emerged in late 2019 in the city of Wuhan.
Gao gave no details of possible changes in strategy but mentioned mRNA, a previously experimental technique used by Western vaccine developers while China’s drug makers used traditional technology.
A study claimed that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine cuts transmission of the Chinese coronavirus by over two-thirds. https://t.co/ESEJDlzLsx
“Everyone should consider the benefits mRNA vaccines can bring for humanity,” Gao said. “We must follow it carefully and not ignore it just because we already have several types of vaccines already.”
Experts say mixing vaccines, or sequential immunization, might boost effectiveness rates.
Trials around the world are looking at mixing of vaccines or giving a booster shot after a longer time period. Researchers in Britain are studying a possible combination of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.
Sunday’s admission by Beijing is not the first time its has been called up on unsubstantiated claims for its coronavirus vaccines.
As Breitbart News reported, the Sinovac vaccine candidate, “CoronaVac,” was found to be just 50.38 percent effective against the Chinese coronavirus in late-stage trials as recently as last January.
The Sinovac vaccine has already been sold to at least 10 other countries and is being administered to people in at least five other countries.
In China, the shot was given emergency approval last July, allowing people such as medical workers and employees of state-owned firms to receive it.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry attacked World Health Organization (WHO) advisory committee member Jamie Metzl because he published anopen letterWednesday calling out the WHO’s COVID-19 origins report for being full of factual inaccuracies.
The letter, co-organized by Metzl and signed by 23 other scientists, highlights 12 statements that were incorrect, disputed, contradictory, or imprecise in the WHO and Chinese joint report on the origins of the pandemic. (Metzl’s questions and concerns may have been addressed by the panel of investigators if the WHO didn’t give reporters only 30 minutes to review the 123-page report on the origins of the Wuhan virus before last week’s press conference.)
Our Open Letter on #COVID19 origins just out. We fully support @DrTedros that all hypotheses must be investigated & call for revamping the @WHO-organized cttee, a new World Health Assembly resolution, & a parallel investigation if #China not forthcoming. https://t.co/YmdPpCVcCn
The WHO report “failed to reach some of the most basic standards of credible analysis and assessment,” the scientists said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian blasted Metzl and the other scientists, saying, “By blatantly questioning the independence and research conclusions of real scientists, they will not only cripple international cooperation on origin tracing, but also undercut global anti-epidemic efforts.”
The only setback in the investigation, Lijian claimed, is it was tainted by the United States and other countries that are “bent on politicizing the origin-tracing issue in an attempt to disrupt China’s cooperation with WHO and discredit China.” Lijian added that China has been commended for its “openness and transparency,” by the joint Chinese and WHO investigation team.
Far from open and transparent, the Chinese government demanded total control over all research into the pandemic’s origins. The WHO gave China veto power over scientists selected to be on the panel of investigators. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also announced on March 19 that Chinese experts received the English version of the WHO report two days prior to its public debut because, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, its release “depend[ed] on discussions between Chinese & international experts.”
The WHO’s report downplayed the theory that COVID-19 could have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China. Even before the report was released, WHO investigators were insisting the virus did not originate from a lab. There is substantial evidence indicating some of the investigators are compromised by China (besides the fact that they are Chinese-approved). Some appear to have a personal interest in not giving any credit to the Wuhan lab-leak theory since it would harm their own scientific research and business dealings.
Metzl’s open letter calls for a new probe into the origins of the pandemic that strips China and any other government of veto power over the scientists selected to investigate the pandemic’s origins. The letter also asks for whistleblower protections to ensure Chinese scientists can “share relevant information without fear of retribution.” Metzl said it was “truly unfortunate” China chose to “obfuscate & deflect” from the criticisms and concerns he laid out in the open letter.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday that the WHO’s report “lacks crucial data, it lacks information, and it lacks access. It represents a picture that is partial and, in our view, incomplete.” Price added his concerns were shared by countries around the world, pointing to a joint statement the U.S. government released with 13 other democracies the day the WHO’s origin report was released, expressing “shared concerns” over China’s influence on the report.
You would have to be blind as a bat to be unable to see why it might not be a good idea for the U.S. government to subsidize dangerous research on coronaviruses from bats in an unsafe lab in Wuhan, China. But that is exactly what the U.S. National Institutes for Health (NIH) did and could do in the future.
Researchers crawled through caves, collecting specimens of bat guano to see if it contained coronaviruses that might be capable of infecting humans and make them sick. That study conducted by the U.S.-based EcoHealth Alliance and China’s state-run Wuhan Institute for Virology (WIV) was funded by NIH and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
At the same time the researchers were writing up their work with WIV, U.S. embassy officials who visited the institute were writing up their observations about what was going on at the lab. Two official warnings were sent back to Washington that the facility had “serious” safety problems and it was conducting risky studies on dangerous coronaviruses from bats that could be transmitted to humans.
While the jury is still out on whether the WIV lab is the source of the coronavirus outbreak, the timeline of events is incredibly compelling. According to White Coat Waste Project, a government watchdog group that has been tracking this story from the beginning found that NIH provided nearly $15 million to EcoHealth Alliance, which has been collaborating with and sending U.S. taxpayer dollars to WIV. Nearly $50 million more has flowed to the group from other federal agencies and departments in recent years.
Holy budget busters, Batman! That’s a lot of money for a group outsourcing research dollars to communist China. But wait, there’s more!
EcoHealth, the company that funneled money to the WIV, which conducted hazardous coronavirus studies, received a $750,000 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, the program that provided loans to businesses during the COVID-19 lockdowns. It’s conceivable that EcoHealth used taxpayer dollars to fund dangerous scientific experiments in China, which kicked off a global pandemic, then received taxpayer aid to keep their business afloat during the very pandemic they may have started.
This all raises so many questions, starting with why were we funding this in the first place?
Justin Goodman, vice president of White Coat Waste, was able to conclude what many in our government could not, that “shipping millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the WIV lab is batsh-t crazy and a recipe for disaster.” While these researchers may like spending your tax dollars crawling through caves, taxpayers shouldn’t have to play a game of hide-and-seek to find the cost of projects paid for with their tax dollars, especially since federal law requires the price to be posted for the public.
In fact, a federal law Congress has renewed annually for more than 30 years, called the Stevens amendment, requires that every project funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which includes NIH, disclose those very details. Shockingly, most government agencies aren’t complying.
A Government Accountability Report (GAO) found that most HHS and Department of Education divisions were non-compliant. These agencies aren’t even bothering to try. It’s not their money. It’s your money.
At least one senator has had enough. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa is demanding an investigation by the HHS inspector general to find out why the department has blatantly, and repeatedly violated federal law. In her letter to the IG, Ernst notes Congress must “properly conduct oversight and ensure tax dollars are being spent wisely and as intended. As part of that responsibility, it became clear recipients of funds from the department were not complying with this law.”
In addition to asking for an investigation into these agencies, Ernst, along with Sens. Rand Paul and James Lankford, introduced the COST Act, a bill that would permanently codify the Stevens amendment, apply the requirements to every federal department, and provide an enforcement mechanism for any agency that’s non-compliant.
“Taxpayers … across the nation, have a right to know exactly how their hard-earned dollars are being spent,” asserts Ernst. At least a handful of her colleagues agree. Turnabout is fair play. The COST Act makes government agencies accountable to you. It should be, as you’re accountable to government.
Every year on April 15 you’re expected to tell the federal government how much you’ve earned in the last year. It’s been that way since 1955. If you don’t file on April 15 and you owe the government money, you owe them interest too. So why shouldn’t the government, in a similar way, be required to account for how it spends your money?
Former President Donald Trump reacted to new interviews from federal health officials Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx on Monday, criticizing them both for their failures during the coronavirus pandemic.
The former president said in a statement Monday both Fauci and Birx were “two self-promoters trying to reinvent history to cover for their bad instincts and faulty recommendations.”
He noted Fauci changed his recommendation on masks during the pandemic and opposed him on his travel ban on China. Trump also ridiculed Fauci’s terrible opening pitch at the Washington Nationals opener in 2020, calling it a “roller.”
He said Fauci unfairly tried to take credit for the rapid development of the vaccine, accusing him of being “incapable” of putting pressure on the Food and Drug Administration to get it approved.
“I was the one to get it done, and even the fake news media knows and reports this,” Trump said.
Trump also criticized Fauci’s leadership at the National Institutions of Health after the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease awarded a $3.4 million grant to EcoHealth Alliance which hired the virology lab in Wuhan to study bat coronaviruses.
“Fauci spent U.S. money on the Wuhan lab in China — and we now know how that worked out,” Trump wrote.
Dr. Birx said in the CNN interview that far more lives could have been saved if only coronavirus lockdowns had been enacted weeks earlier.
But Trump said it was Fauci and Birx who acted too slowly.
“Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx moved far too slowly, and if it were up to them we’d currently be locked in our basements as our country suffered through a financial depression,” Trump said.
Birx also revealed in the CNN interview she had a “direct” and “uncomfortable conversation” with Trump after she gave an interview on CNN about the virus.
Trump denied her account.
“There was no ‘very difficult’ phone call, other than Dr. Birx’s policies that would have led us directly into a COVID-caused depression,” Trump wrote. “She was a very negative voice who didn’t have the right answers.”
He also noted Fauci frequently criticized Birx behind his back.
“Dr. Birx is a proven liar with very little credibility left,” he wrote. “Many of her recommendations were viewed as ‘pseudo-science,’ and Dr. Fauci would always talk negatively about her and, in fact, would ask not to be in the same room with her.”
Trump recalled that Birx was caught traveling with her extended family to a vacation property in Delaware, despite urging Americans not to gather with their extended family during the holidays in 2020.
“She then, embarrassingly for her, resigned,” Trump recalled.
The former president also acknowledged that he kept Fauci and Birx on, but appeared to regret the decision.
“Time has proven me correct,” he wrote. “I only kept Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx on because they worked for the U.S. government for so long — they are like a bad habit!”
Read the full statement from Trump below:
Trump burns Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx after their CNN interviews – appears to regret ever giving them credence pic.twitter.com/BeRhbXufXX
A report compiled by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) in collaboration with China on the origins of coronavirus claims it leapt from bats to humans through another animal and not via a laboratory leak in the city of Wuhan, a draft copy obtained by The Associated Press claims.
The long-awaited study has been repeatedly delayed since it was commissioned last year, prompting doubts about input from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its aim of diverting attention away from the controversial government research laboratory, at one stage implicating the United States military, without evidence, and urging the W.H.O. to launch probes into the virus’s origins outside of China.
A W.H.O. official said late last week he expected it would be ready for wider public release “in the next few days.”
The AP received what appeared to be a near-final version on Monday from a Geneva-based diplomat from a W.H.O.-member country. It wasn’t clear whether the report might still be changed prior to its release. The diplomat did not want to be identified because they were not authorized to release it ahead of publication.
The researchers listed four scenarios in order of likelihood for the emergence of the virus named SARS-CoV-2. Topping the list was transmission through a second animal, which they said was likely to very likely. They evaluated direct spread from bats to humans as likely, and said that spread through “cold-chain” food products was possible but not likely.
The W.H.O. report repeats an assertion made last month by the U.N. body that China was in the clear and absolved of blame for the catastrophic global spread of the deadly disease, as Breitbart News reported:
It is “extremely unlikely” the coronavirus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China, and is more likely to have jumped to humans from an animal, W.H.O. investigators said Tuesday. https://t.co/wush1l4IjD
The closest relative of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been found in bats, which are known to carry coronaviruses.
However, the report says that ‘the evolutionary distance between these bat viruses and SARS-CoV-2 is estimated to be several decades, suggesting a missing link.’
The draft 400-page report is inconclusive on whether the outbreak started at a Wuhan seafood market that had one of the earliest clusters of cases in December 2019.
“No firm conclusion therefore about the role of the Huanan market in the origin of the outbreak, or how the infection was introduced into the market, can currently be drawn,” the report says, dismissing the cover-up claims that have been ciculating now for well over 12 months.
Earlier this month the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published an expose on the W.H.O. investigation of the origins of the coronavirus.
According to the WSJ report, the Chinese government had near-total control over the W.H.O. visit to Wuhan, from deciding who could be on the team to dictating what the visiting scientists were allowed to see.
The government also forced the W.H.O. team to watch Chinese political propaganda instead of seriously digging into the early days of the pandemic.
The WSJ said it uncovered “fresh details about the team’s formation and constraints that reveal how little power it had to conduct a thorough, impartial examination – and call into question the clarity its findings appeared to provide.”
The WSJ detailed the shocking amount of control Beijing reportedly ended up having over the belated investigation that finally occurred in January and February 2021 – right down to Chinese operatives being allowed to “review” W.H.O.’s final report and “make possible changes” ahead of its public release.
China previously urged the W.H.O. to find the “origin” of the coronavirus in America.
“The U.S. has the most diverse virus strains, which make it the most suitable place for conducting study of origins,” a Communist Party-approved “expert” told the state propaganda outlet Global Times in February.
The Democratic Party woke up Saturday morning to its 31st day of leading both the executive and legislative branches of government. They had run on “immediate [economic] relief” to Americans put down and out by largely Democratic COVID shutdowns. Relief, you might notice, that hasn’t actually come.
On Jan. 14, less than one week before taking the oath of office, President Joe Biden promised, “We’ll make sure that our emergency small business relief is distributed swiftly and equitably, unlike the first time around. We’re going to focus on small businesses, on Main St. We’ll focus on minority-owned small businesses, women-owned small businesses.”
But so far in the first full month that Sen. Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Biden have been in control, the only money that has gone toward American relief has been from that money allocated while President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell still joined Pelosi in power, including $1 trillion that remains unspent.
Instead of their promised relief, over the past month Democrats have tried the former president, re-entered the Paris Climate Accords, locked down the U.S. Capitol, and freed up American tax dollars to go to aborting children abroad.
So what about American business owners, parents, and workers suffering under COVID-19 restrictions? Anything for them? So far nothing.
“Our rescue plan will provide flexible grants to help those hardest-hit small businesses survive the pandemic,” Biden promised more than five weeks ago. His administration, he said, would “help entrepreneurs of all backgrounds create and maintain jobs, plus provide the essential goods and services communities depend upon.”
Instead, at this week’s CNN town hall Biden told Wisconsin brewer Tim Eichinger, a Democrat who is struggling to keep his employees on and his business afloat, to give White House staff his address so they could mail him that COVID plan — the one he laid out five weeks ago. It’s the same one Democrats have been sitting on for a month while they fight over things like a $15 national minimum wage hike unlikely to pass the Senate and which even the president admits likely isn’t going anywhere.
Whether it does or doesn’t will be no help to Tim Eichinger. Nor will taxpayer money for abortion, nor any of the other completely unrelated left-wing projects jammed into this apparently necessary COVID relief.
Meanwhile, a Republican push for domestic abuse survivors to not have to go through their former abusers for access to their checks was denied by Democrats. So too was a push for schools to even have a plan to reopen their doors before receiving money. So too is Republicans’ completely accurate complaint that there is still $1 trillion in unspent relief money allocated by the last Congress.
In exchange for electing him president of the United States, Biden promised “immediate relief to Americans hardest hit and most in need.” But promises are cheap, and one whole month into his administration he hasn’t accomplished a single bit of it.
Chinese state media on Sunday gleefully quoted members of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) defending China from their own colleagues’ allegations that Beijing withheld important source data from investigators researching the origins of the coronavirus in Wuhan.
The Chinese presented their visitors with an analysis of the earliest recorded coronavirus cases but would not allow them to view the raw data. The Chinese claimed some of these records and samples have been destroyed.
The W.H.O. investigators who made these comments took pains to avoid directly accusing the Chinese of lying to them, but several of the foreign scientists suggested there were heated discussions with their hosts in Wuhan about the raw data and original records that were not provided.
China’s state-run Global Timespushed back on Sunday by quoting two members of the W.H.O. team who accused American reporters of misunderstanding or deliberately misinterpreting their comments. One of them was Thea Fischer, the Danish epidemiologist who had previously alluded to having angry debates with Chinese officials and emotions running “really high” during the mission to Wuhan.
Fischer accused the New York Timesof misinterpreting her comments to create drama where none existed. She insisted her team had a “good relationship” with the Chinese and said those “heated arguments” merely reflected “a deep level of engagement in the room.”
“Our quotes are intendedly twisted, casting shadows over important scientific work,” Fischer complained.
Fischer’s complaint was seconded with a “Hear! Hear!” by British zoologist Peter Daszak.
Hear! Hear! It’s disappointing to spend time w/ journalists explaining key findings of our exhausting month-long work in China, to see our colleagues selectively misquoted to fit a narrative that was prescribed before the work began. Shame on you @nytimes!
Daszak insisted he found “trust and openness” with his Chinese counterparts during the W.H.O. mission to Wuhan. “We DID get access to critical new data throughout. We DID increase our understanding of likely spillover pathways,” he wrote.
The Global Times applauded Daszak and Fischer for defending the Chinese, mixing their comments with statements from Chinese commentators to blast the American mainstream press, which the Chinese propagandists improbably depicted as willing participants in some sort of conspiracy to make Beijing look bad:
“Throughout the WHO expert team’s trip in Wuhan, Western media’s goal had been to push their theories that China is guilty of causing the COVID-19 pandemic and hiding information,” Peking University professor Zhang Yiwu told the Global Times on Sunday.
As the results WHO experts released at the press conference were opposite to what the Western media were looking forward to, some Western media become so desperate that they made such false report, twisting experts’ words, to continue hyping their conspiracy theories about China, Zhang noted.
Countries that accused China of trying to hide information or prevent WHO experts from investigating would not even allow a WHO expert team to enter their countries to investigate, Zhang said, slamming their double standards.
Another Global Times editorial hammered out on the same day quoted Daszak to attack the Biden administration, which is supposedly complicit in the grand conspiracy to smear China because National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan expressed “deep concerns about the way in which the early findings of the COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] investigation were communicated and questions about the process used to reach them.”
The Global Times wailed that President Joe Biden and his team have clearly been consumed by the irrational anti-China biases of his predecessor, Donald Trump:
Identifying the origins of COVID-19 is a serious matter requiring hard and scientific work. But the US has been politicizing this scientific work, presupposing and spreading the political narrative that the virus originated in China. Washington has strived to make the WHO’s identification of the virus origins a process to justify the US’ own stance.
As the WHO refused to cooperate, the former Trump administration fell out with the organization. The Democratic administration of the US restored the relationship with the WHO, and vowed to respect science. But it seems that the current administration’s actual attitude still cannot reverse the track set by its predecessor.
The current US administration has continued the Trump administration’s practices of passing the buck to China. It has revealed its intention to continue stigmatizing China with the COVID-19 pandemic and thus weaken China’s influence around the world. The difference is that they are restrained in words. But the anti-scientific attitude is almost untouched.
Neither of these Global Times articles had anything to say about Dominic Dwyer, the Australian microbiologist and W.H.O. investigator who most clearly accused the Chinese of withholding raw data. Dwyer said the data given to his team was “not necessarily enough to do the sorts of analyses you would do” and said it was unusual for source documents to be withheld from international science teams.
U.K. Daily Mail journalist Ian Birrell on Sunday published a roundup of scientists from around the world who have been strongly critical of the W.H.O. mission to Wuhan. Some of them branded the investigation a “charade” to cover up Chinese malfeasance and help Beijing push its own narratives about the coronavirus, including bizarre theories that the disease originated elsewhere and was either accidentally or deliberately shipped to Wuhan.
At a minimum, these critics accused the W.H.O. team of being far too trusting of their Chinese hosts and much too eager to rule out the possibility that the Chinese coronavirus originated from the high-security virology lab near Wuhan.
Another member of the W.H.O. team, Dutch virologist Marion Koopmans, has worked as an adviser to the Chinese government and worked on studies that received Chinese funding. Koopmans angrily denied these relationships could compromise her objectivity, pointing out that she has also worked as a scientific adviser to European and American government agencies.
The WHO team supposedly investigating the origins of Covid-19 folded up faster than a cheap card table and headed home. As expected, they “downplayed the possibility that the virus leaked from a lab.” They blame the spread on animals.
WHO wants more time
The World Health Organization team had a nice 12-day vacation sightseeing in China. The last thing they wanted to see was evidence that Covid-19 leaked from a Wuhan lab, so they didn’t. They don’t recommend the bat soup though.
They had a look around a few hospitals and poked their noses into the labs their “translators” let them into so they could conclude with a clear conscience that it’s not likely that the virus leaked from a lab. WHO is of the opinion that more probably, it “spread from an animal to humans.” At least that’s what food safety and animal diseases expert Peter Ben Embarek claimed on Tuesday.
Both the health experts and China have “faced strong criticism from around the world” over the way they dragged their feet in the beginning. Then on top of that, China “blocked WHO investigators from entering Wuhan for months.”
They didn’t get into the area until mid-January. They blame it on the bats. They aren’t real sure though so they want more time to ponder it. A lot more time. Enough until everyone forgets what it is that they’re doing.
According to Embarek, “our initial findings suggest that the introduction through an intermediary host species is the most likely pathway and one that will require more studies and more specific, targeted research.” Expect it to take years. For now though, the WHO says you can forget about all those bio-warfare tinfoil hat conspiracy theories.
No, it wasn’t custom built on orders of George Soros who didn’t manage the program through Harvard University while Jeffrey Epstein wasn’t busily entertaining more Harvard scientists. The findings suggest “that the laboratory incidents hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus to the human population.”
Just forget about lab leaks
Embarek advises activists in the new post-constitutional America just to forget all about their crazy ideas and have a sip of the Kool-Aid.
“Therefore it is not a hypothesis that we advise to suggest future studies into the understanding of the origin of the virus.” The WHO animal expert got picked to give the group’s assessment at the end of their visit.
The world class Wuhan Institute of Virology was kind enough to collect “extensive virus samples,” the WHO explains. They can understand how that started “allegations that it may have caused the original outbreak by leaking the virus into the surrounding community.”
China does not want to hear things like that spoken out loud. They “strongly rejected that possibility,” and have been working overtime to advance “other theories that the virus may have originated elsewhere.”
After the whole WHO group of experts from 10 countries got done with their deep dive, they are certain it started in bats, then went through another animal, like a “pangolin or bamboo rat, which is considered an exotic delicacy by some.”
From there it made it’s way into humans. One other possibility that they came up with is that it has something to do with the frozen food trade.
It is “extremely unlikely” the coronavirus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China, and is more likely to have jumped to humans from an animal, World Health Organization (W.H.O.) investigators said Tuesday as they wrapped up their visit to the country’s central Hubei province.
Peter Embarek, leader of the W.H.O. team, told a media conference instead of investigating laboratories in the country, frozen meats sold at the wet market in Wuhan where the first cluster of cases was detected should instead be pursued as a line of inquiry.
“Our initial findings suggest that the introduction through an intermediary host species is the most likely pathway and one that will require more studies and more specific, targeted research,” Embarek said, as reported by AP.
“However, the findings suggest that the laboratory incidents hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus to the human population,” Embarek said.
Peter Embarek, of the World Health Organization team holds up a chart showing pathways of transmission of the virus during a joint press conference held at the end of the W.H.O. mission in Wuhan, China, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
He backed Beijing and dismissed claims of transmission “in Wuhan or elsewhere” in China before December 2019 – despite allegations the virus was circulating globally months earlier than that, as Breitbart News reported.
Professor Liang Wannian, an expert with China’s Health Commission, told the same press briefing he agreed there had been no substantial spread of the virus in the city of 11 million before the late 2019 outbreak, Reuters reports.
Winnian said while transmissions from animals to humans via bats remains the likeliest origin of coronavirus, the original host “has not been identified.”
Bats and pangolins are potential animal sources of the virus, the professor said, but the coronavirus samples found in them were similar, but not identical to the virus found in humans.
He claimed studies showed the coronavirus “can be carried long-distance on cold chain products,” a nod towards the theory of possible importation of the virus – a point that has gained strength in China in recent months.
Chinese authorities have kept a tight hold on information about the possible causes of the pandemic that has now sickened more than 105 million people and killed more than 2.2 million worldwide.