WHO, advisors urge China to release all COVID-associated information soon after new investigation

March 18 (Reuters) – Advisors to the Globe Well being Organization on Saturday urged China to release all data associated to the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic soon after new findings have been briefly shared on an international database utilised to track pathogens.

New sequences of the SARS-CoV-two virus as nicely as extra genomic information primarily based on samples taken from a reside animal market place in Wuhan, China in 2020 have been briefly uploaded to the GISAID database by Chinese scientists earlier this year, permitting them to be viewed by researchers in other nations, according to the statement from the WHO’s Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO).

The sequences recommended that raccoon dogs have been present in the market place and may perhaps have also been infected by the coronavirus, supplying a new clue in the chain of transmission that sooner or later reached humans.

Access to the data was subsequently restricted “apparently to let additional information updates” by the Chinese Center for Illness Manage and Prevention (CDC).

WHO officials discussed the matter with Chinese colleagues, who explained that the new information have been intended to be utilised to update a preprint study from 2022. China’s CDC plans to re-submit the paper to the scientific journal Nature for publication, according to the statement.

WHO officials say such data, although not conclusive, represents a new lead into the investigation of COVID’s origins and really should have been shared quickly.

“These information do not offer a definitive answer to the query of how the pandemic started, but every single piece of information is significant in moving us closer to that answer,” WHO Director-Basic Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned on Friday. “These information could have – and really should have – been shared 3 years ago.”

“We continue to contact on China to be transparent in sharing information, and to conduct the vital investigations and share the benefits,” he mentioned.

SAGO was tasked by the WHO to continue to investigate the origins of the pandemic that has killed practically 7 million persons worldwide.

The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Industry in Wuhan was shut down by Chinese authorities soon after the novel coronavirus emerged in the city in late 2019. The market place has given that been a concentrate of study of whether or not the virus had infected many other species prior to jumping to humans.

The WHO and other scientists have also mentioned they can not rule out the possibility that the virus emerged from a higher-safety laboratory in Wuhan that research unsafe pathogens. China denies any such hyperlink.

The 2022 preprint paper mentioned that a compact portion of 923 samples collected from the stalls and sewage systems in and about the market place tested constructive for the virus no virus was detected in 457 animal samples tested. The paper mentioned initially that raccoon dogs have been not amongst the animals tested.

The new evaluation suggests “that raccoon dog and other animals may perhaps have been present prior to the market place was cleaned as portion of the public overall health intervention,” the SAGO statement mentioned.

Reporting by Sneha Bhowmik in Bengaluru and Jennifer Rigby in London Writing by Michele Gershberg Editing by Nick Zieminski

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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