The World Health Organization has prompted renewed friction with the Chinese Communist Party after a new report refused to rule out a theory that the COVID-19 pandemic originated because of a lab leak in China.
The Chinese government has remained on the defensive amid international criticism that the CCP has not been fully cooperative or transparent in global investigations into the origins of the virus. The prevailing theory among many scientists is that the virus originated in wild animals and migrated to humans, also known as zoonotic transmission, but others argue SARS-CoV-2 most likely started at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens, the 27-member scientific advisory group assembled by the WHO, said in its first report out Thursday that members are missing “key pieces of data that are not yet available for a complete understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic began.”
“The SAGO has agreed, apart from three objections, that it remains important to consider all reasonable scientific data that is available either through published or other official sources to evaluate the possibility of the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into the human population through a laboratory incident,” the report says.