The World Health Organization (WHO) is demanding that “audits” be conducted of Chinese labs in the vicinity of where the first cases of SARS-CoV-2 were identified — a development that comes at approximately the same time that the organization admitted that the first cluster of cases did not come from a nearby wet market in Wuhan.
WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a closed-door meeting on Friday that one of the top priorities for the next phase of the investigation includes “audits of relevant laboratories and research institutions operating in the area of the initial human cases identified in December 2019.”
He emphasized studying “geographic areas with the earliest indication of circulation of Sars CoV-2,” including studies of more animal markets.
The Washington Post reported this week that WHO, in response to questions from the newspaper, will change a joint report with China on the origins of the pandemic to “clarify that the first family cluster was not linked to the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan.”
In May, The Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) — China’s only Biosafety level-4 laboratory — were hospitalized in November 2019 with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report.
“The details of the reporting go beyond a State Department fact sheet, issued during the final days of the Trump administration, which said that several researchers at the lab, a center for the study of coronaviruses and other pathogens, became sick in autumn 2019 ‘with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness,’” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The disclosure of the number of researchers, the timing of their illnesses and their hospital visits come on the eve of a meeting of the World Health Organization’s decision-making body, which is expected to discuss the next phase of an investigation into Covid-19’s origins.”
The latest news comes as the Biden administration now acknowledges the possibility that the pandemic originated from a Chinese lab is now at least as likely as the theory that it originated in nature.
David Asher, who led the Trump administration’s investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, said in an interview back in late March that biostatisticians from the U.S. government calculated that the odds of the coronavirus evolving naturally to be “one-in-13 billion.”
“We were finding that despite the claims of our scientific community, including the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Fauci’s NIAID organization, that there was almost no evidence that supported a natural, zoonotic, you know, evolution, or source of COVID-19,” Asher said. “And we said, you know, okay, let’s look at the both sources of evidence, natural zoonosis, as they call it, you know, it came out of nature, or did it come out of a lab, and the data disproportionately stacked up as we investigated that it was coming out of a lab or some supernatural source.”
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