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WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping to meeting in Beijing on January 29 | Photo: Reproduction / Chinese State Agency News.CN

The World Health Organization (WHO) insisted on Friday (23) that the world needs to know the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which is the cause of the current pandemic, and that scientists need the “space” to continue their research, following China’s refusal to allow the organization to launch a second phase of its investigations.

“This is not about playing politics, blaming each other or pointing fingers at each other, but the need for all of us to understand how a pathogen can reach the human population,” said WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week called on China to be “transparent and open” and to provide “raw data from the first days of the pandemic”, a request that has failed been well received by the Beijing government. China responded through a senior national health official that the request was “arrogant” and “devoid of common sense.”

Jasarevic confirmed today that the WHO maintains its position because “it is about science” and recalled that after a first phase of research, it is now necessary to gather more evidence to “really know” the origin of the virus. For this, he noted, the investigation must enter a new phase.

Assumptions taken into account by WHO

The WHO mission which was in Wuhan in February requested access to raw data of patients registered in hospitals in the city with symptoms similar to Covid-19 before the first known case of the disease was recorded, but China replied that these had already been studied. by its experts.

Currently, “all hypotheses (of the origin of the virus) are on the table,” the WHO spokesperson said.

These hypotheses consist in that the virus was transmitted to humans through an animal, that there was direct contagion from the animal carrying the virus or that the transmission was made through meat. frozen. The fourth and final hypothesis is the involuntary release of the virus by laboratory accident.

Tedros admitted there was a lot of pressure to rule out such an incident and commented that it “could happen”.

“Countries have a responsibility to work together and with the WHO in a spirit of cooperation so that scientists are able to understand the origins of the virus and this pandemic,” Jasarevic said.