While WHO calls for further studies to identify the origin of SARS-CoV-2 virus, China has pushed to expand the search beyond its borders.
“If we limit the study of origin within China, I think this is a scientific misunderstanding, because the source is still unclear,” said Liang Wannian, the head of the Chinese team that worked with the WHO group of experts.
Adding that virus may not have necessarily emerged from the place where it was first identified, he said, “based on this scientific consensus, we should have a broader viewpoint in terms of sourcing”. Also Read: Needleless COVID-19 vaccines may be announced soon, says WHO scientist
The WHO report concluded that the virus or a progenitor of it was most likely carried by a bat, which infected another animal that infected a human.
Researchers have not been able to trace the bat or the intermediate animal yet, but suspicion has fallen on bat habitats in southwest China or nearby Southeast Asia.
Meanwhile, the US has accused China of hampering WHO’s investigation into the origins of the coronavirus and demanded Beijing be more “transparent” by providing greater access to data about the initial outbreak in 2019. Also Read: COVID-19 vaccine: Pfizer jab is 100% effective in trial of children between ages 12-15 years