Monday, 29 March 2021
The transmission of the coronavirus from bats to humans through another animal seems a “likely to very likely” hypothesis, while a laboratory incident remains “extremely unlikely”, a joint WHO-China study on the origins of the virus found.
The report is based largely on a visit by a WHO team of international experts to Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus was first detected in 2020, between January and February this year.
The experts said that “in view of the literature on the role of farm animals as intermediate hosts for emerging diseases, there is a need for further investigations with a wider geographical scope,” according to a draft copy obtained by The Associated Press.
Although the findings, of which publication has been repeatedly delayed, have reportedly left many questions unanswered, they do provide in-depth detail on the reasoning behind the team’s conclusions.
In the report, the experts also proposed further research in every area, apart from the lab leak hypothesis.
The researchers listed four possible scenarios in order of the likelihood for the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, with transmission through a second animal at the top of the list, followed by the direct spread from bats to humans, and the spread through “cold-chain” food products.
The Brussels Times