Animals Most Likely Source of Coronavirus — WHO Report

Covid 'most likely' came from bats and China lab leak theory 'extremely unlikely' WHO report concludes

The findings were largely as expected and left many questions unanswered, with the team proposing further research in every area except the lab leak hypothesis.

"Gritstone's vaccine may provide more comprehensive viral protection by inducing a better combination of T cell responses and neutralizing antibodies as compared to the now available vaccines", says Daniel Hoft, M.D., Ph.D., director of Saint Louis University's Center for Vaccine Development, in a January press release.

The release of the report has been repeatedly delayed, raising questions about whether the Chinese side was trying to skew the conclusions to prevent blame for the pandemic falling on China.

The U.S. has "real concerns about the methodology and the process" of the report, including that the Chinese government "apparently helped to write it", Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on CNN.

"The U.S. has been speaking out on the report".

The report is based largely on a visit by a World Health Organization team of worldwide experts to Wuhan.

The researchers listed four scenarios in order of likelihood.

- Intermediate host animal - This hypothesis, deemed by the experts as a "likely to very likely pathway", argues that the virus first spread from the original host animal, likely a bat, to another intermediate host animal before being passed on to humans. The researchers said a direct spread from bats to humans was also possible.

Bats are known to carry coronaviruses and, in fact, the closest relative of the virus that causes Covid-19 has been found in bats. It wasn't clear whether the report might still be changed prior to its release. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus confirmed that he had received the report. The diplomat did not want to be identified because they were not authorized to release it ahead of publication.

A joint report by the World Health Organisation and China on the origins of coronavirus, which is expected to be made public on Tuesday, says transmission from bats through another animal was likely scenario.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the top United States infectious diseases expert, said he would like to see the report's raw information first before deciding about its credibility.

The Wall Street Journal: "How the WHO's Hunt for Covid's Origins Stumbled in China" - "China resisted global pressure for an investigation it saw as an attempt to assign blame, delayed the probe for months, secured veto rights over participants and insisted its scope encompass other countries as well, the Journal found".

"Many of the early cases were associated with the Huanan market, but a similar number of cases were associated with other markets and some were not associated with any markets", the report added. The report noted that a range of animal products - including everything from bamboo rats to deer, often frozen - were sold at the market, as were live crocodiles.

As the virus spread globally, China found samples of it on the packaging of frozen food coming into the country and, in some cases, have tracked localized outbreaks to them - but has never published convincing data to prove that link.

"There is no conclusive evidence for foodborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the probability of a cold-chain contamination with the virus from a reservoir is very low", it says.

A more probable scenario, the report found, was that the virus had first jumped from bats to another animal, which in turn infected humans.

A third hypothesis the experts examined was whether the virus may have been imported to Wuhan in frozen food - a favourite theory in Beijing, which has questioned the initial assumption the virus originated in China.

Arguments for "Although rare, laboratory accidents do happen", the report said.

Arguments against "There is no record of viruses closely related to SARS-CoV-2 in any laboratory before December 2019, or genomes that in combination could provide a SARS-CoV-2 genome", the report said.

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