On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that it is extremely unlikely that the COVID-19 originated in a Chinese lab and identified two possible scenarios that might cause its transmission to humans. Peter Ben Embarek, a WHO expert states at a news briefing that according to the initial findings, the introduction through an intermediate host species is the most likely pathway. Moreover, he adds that they need further investigation and research.
In addition, it is possible that novel coronavirus spread to humans through the sale purchase of frozen products. Another theory the WHO research team suggests a direct zoonotic spillover such as direct transmission from an animal to humans. Peter adds that the hypothesis is also causing recommendations for future studies. Likewise, the fourth scenario was a laboratory hypothesis, but the possibility is extremely unlikely to describe the introduction of the fatal virus to the human population.
The head of the expert panel of coronavirus response for the China National Health Commission, Liang Wannian, stated at the press conference that viruses related to SARS-COV-2, which causes novel coronavirus, didn’t spot among wildlife in China, including pangolins and horseshow bats. Liang said that all animals that scientists tested as part of their investigation tested negative for COVID-19.
Contamination of Coronavirus through the frozen food
Furthermore, he echoed the remarks of Embarek regarding frozen food and said that the virus might survive in conditions found in packaging, frozen food, and cold chain products and that recent outbreaks in China also linked to the cold chain. Liang added that scientists need more research into frozen food transmission for reaching to a conclusion. Additionally, he said that samples tested from the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, China specified there had extensive contamination of surfaces of coronavirus at the point that the market closed on 1st January 2020.
Based on the first symptoms of the COVID-19 reported, Embarek said that people likely infected around late November or early December 2020. But it was more extensive than just the cluster outbreak at the Chinese seafood market. Liang adds that the beginning of the earliest COVID-19 case was 8th December 2019. Similarly, the first case associated with the market was 12th December 2019, adding that the 8th December case had no link with the Hunan seafood market, however, he didn’t provide additional details about the case.
Embarek further added that in terms of place and time, some of the initial cases that might be linked to the seafood market detected or had their start of symptoms in the first fifteen days of December – signifying that they likely infected around the December start or late November. Whereas the coronavirus found to be spreading outside the market in December 2019, bigger outbreaks didn’t find occurring prior to December. However, the panel couldn’t go into further detail. Whereas the thoughts of the team behind the origins of coronavirus didn’t change completely following their investigation. And they were able to gain more insight.
What was the laboratory theory of COVID-19?
Theory about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, one of the top virus research labs of China – started last year and broadcasted by former United States President Donald Trump. In April, the state department cable of the U.S. came to light suggesting that embassy officials concerned about biosecurity there. The American national intelligence director’s office said at that time that while the coronavirus wasn’t modified or manmade. Investigators also investigated whether the pandemic started through a laboratory accident or contact with the animals.
However, Dr. Embarek said a visit to the laboratory during the investigation disclosed it was very improbable that anything might leak out. The laboratory theory wasn’t in the hypotheses that they will suggest for additional studies.
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