WHO report says SARS-CoV-2 likely originated in animals

March 31, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) released its much-anticipated report on the origin of SARS-CoV-2, concluding that the virus likely stemmed from a zoonotic source and passed through an intermediate species before infecting humans.

The report was based on the findings of a mission of international and Chinese scientists to Wuhan, China, from January 14, 2020-February 10, 2020.

Based on its evaluation of four potential pathways, the study team concluded that the introduction of the virus to human through:

·        an intermediate host was a likely to very likely pathway

·         direct zoonotic spillover was a possible to likely pathway

·         cold/ food chain products was a possible pathway

·          introduction through a laboratory incident was an extremely unlikely pathway

Commenting on the report, WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus, PhD, said, “As far as WHO is concerned, all hypotheses remain on the table. This report is a very important beginning, but it is not the end. We have not yet found the source of the virus, and we must continue to follow the science and leave no stone unturned as we do,”Tedros said. “Finding the origin of a virus takes time, and we owe it to the world to find the source so we can collectively take steps to reduce the risk of this happening again. No single research trip can provide all the answers.”

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