WHO report into Covid origins says animal transmission the likeliest cause

Geneva, Mar 30 (efe-epa).- The World Health Organization on Tuesday published the findings of its highly anticipated study into the origins of the coronavirus.

An international team of researchers and scientists traveled to Wuhan in central China this year to investigate the origins of the world’s first major outbreak of the virus in late 2019 and early 2020.

Early results from the WHO investigation show that the virus most probably jumped from animals to humans, and that a theory that it was leaked from a Chinese laboratory was the least likely cause of the outbreak.

“Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom said in a statement.

The conclusions of the report are summarized in four hypotheses that are ranked from most to least likely.

The most credible is that the new coronavirus reached humans through one or more intermediate animal species.

The probability that it jumped directly from the carrier species to humans is lower, since none of the most suspected species — such as bats — has so far been found to have the same or a sufficiently similar strain of coronavirus.

“More than 80,000 wildlife, livestock and poultry samples were collected from 31 provinces in China and no positive result was identified for SARS-CoV-2 antibody or nucleic acid before and after the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in China,” the report added.

Below that hypothesis is the theory that the virus was introduced into the human community via a frozen animal product, either from elsewhere in China or from abroad.

The least likely hypothesis is that the coronavirus was accidentally or intentionally released in a laboratory, a speculation that has fueled several conspiracy theories.

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