A World Health Organizationled investigation in China found that the coronavirus most likely jumped to humans through an animal host or frozen wildlife products, finding that its extremely unlikely it came from a laboratory leak. No further research is needed to look into the theory about a leak, Peter Ben Embarek, a WHO foodsafety scientist, told reporters Tuesday at a joint briefing with China in Wuhan, the city where COVID19 first mushroomed at the end of 2019. That speculation has been promulgated by former U.S. President Donald Trump and some others.
The virus could have been introduced to the Huanan wet market in Wuhan, which many of the first COVID19 patients were linked to, by a person who was infected or by a product that was sold there, Ben Embarek said. Among the more interesting products were frozen wildlife animals, he said. Some of these species are known to be susceptible to these kinds of viruses.
The highly anticipated mission followed months of negotiations with a defensive China to facilitate and cooperate with the probe. Stung by criticism that it initially covered up the extent of the crisis, Chinese state media and officials have promoted the theory that the virus didnt start in China, but was brought in. The WHOs validation of a potential coldchain transmission route is likely to bolster those efforts.