World Health Organization mission leader says felt 'political pressure,' but not to alter report

US,13 countries concerned WHO COVID-19 origin study was delayed lacked access-statement

Tedros, who has largely steered clear of calling out China, said Tuesday that team members raised concerns to him about access to raw epidemiological data needed for the report. The scientists suggested future studies take a wider geographical approach, including Southeast Asia, and investigate susceptible animal species more closely.

The report said highly similar viruses (to Sars-CoV-2) have been found in pangolins, a scaly anteater prized in traditional Chinese medicine, but scientists have yet to identify the same coronavirus in animals that has been infecting humans. "From what I've seen, there was nothing shocking and unexpected in there".

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged he had received the report over the weekend and said it would be formally presented on Tuesday.

Overall, without a definitive conclusion as to how the virus made its way into the human population, the team, which is comprised of global experts, called for "a continued scientific and collaborative approach to be taken towards tracing the origins of COVID-19".

The Associated Press reported this story.

The theory of the virus spreading through cold-chain transmission via frozen products was deemed possible but not likely, further raising questions about the politicisation of the study since China has long pushed the theory which was previous dismissed by the World Health Organization and some Western experts.

Direct transmission from an animal species into the human population.

It further revealed that another least likely source of the virue is an accidental laboratory release.

Samples from bats and other animals in China didn't test positive for the pandemic virus.

During the visit to Wuhan, Chinese officials refused to share raw data about some of the earliest possible virus cases with the World Health Organization team, frustrating some of the visiting scientists.

On the other hand, experts believe that it is not possible to spread the virus through cold chain food products.

Source of contamination in Wuhan market not tracedThe report has confirmed that there was widespread contamination with SARS-CoV-2 in the Huanan market in Wuhan, but could not determine the source of this contamination.

Bats are known to carry coronaviruses and scientists have found the closest relative of the new coronavirus in bats in China.

That provides a pathway by which the virus may have spilled over from wildlife into either people or animals farmed in southern China, and then shipped into a market by some means, Peter Daszak, a zoologist who was part of the joint research effort, told Bloomberg News earlier this month.

It notes that the earliest reported case, from December 8, did not have any link to the market, but it suggests that mild and asymptomatic cases may have gone undetected.

However, the research center didn't report any disruptions or incidents that would have been caused by the move, and it wasn't storing or testing coronaviruses or bat viruses ahead of the outbreak, the report said.

China was accused of spreading Coronavirus from Wuhan's lab around the world. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN this week he had concerns about the report's methodology, "including the fact that the government in Beijing apparently helped to write it".

The report is also purported to say the virus coming from a lab leak is very unlikely. It's unclear how much the report's findings may persuade people convinced that the virus spread from a laboratory. This scenario, one of four considered by investigators during a joint WHO-China study from January to February, is called "extremely unlikely".



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