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1 report, 4 theories. Scientists are finding out the origin of the virus

EN NEV (AP) – A group of international Chinese scientists are ready to report on their joint search for the origin of the coronavirus, which caused an epidemic after its first discovery in China a year ago. Four theories are considered, one according to experts, the clear leader.

The long-running report comes months after a clash, particularly between the US and Chinese governments, over the outbreak as scientists try to focus on the hitherto fruitless search for the bacterium that has killed more than 2.7 million people. people և suffocating economies around the world.

It was not immediately clear when the report would be released earlier this month after it was postponed. According to a lot of data, the report can offer some specific answers և may raise further questions.

At first glance, it will offer writing to 10 international epidemiologists, data scientists, veterinarians, laboratories and food safety experts who visited the Chinese city of Wuhan earlier this year, where the market was seen as a primary epicenter, to work with Chinese partners. who collected most of the early data.

Critics have questioned the team’s objectivity, arguing that the Chinese government has a key opinion on its composition. World Health Organization advocates who have assembled the team say it cannot simply parachute into experts to tell a country what to do, especially one as powerful as China.

“I expect this report will be only the first step in investigating the origin of the virus, the WHO Secretariat will probably say,” said Matthew Kavanagh, director of the O’Neill Institute’s Global Health Policy Management Initiative. “And I expect some to criticize it as insufficient.”

Wuhan’s guide is presented as the first step in a huge enterprise to eradicate the virus.

The WHO has begun to describe the mission as an “investigation”. He said that the invasive forensic investigation, which was not required by the resolution unanimously adopted by the member states in May, paved the way for cooperation. WTO և China later clarified the basic rules.

Vladimir Dedkov, an epidemiologist and deputy director of research at the Pasteur Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, summed up the four main lines made at a marathon press conference in China last month about the suspected origin of the first human infection. They were probably. Mediator through the animal from the bat. straight from the bat; contaminated with frozen food; From a leak from a laboratory like the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Chinese officials, like Chinese team leader Liang Wangyan, have put forward a third theory, the cold chain, while the US administration, led by President Donald Trump, has played a fourth theory about laboratory leaks. But Dedkov said the two hypotheses were far below the list of possible sources.

He suggested that the frozen products on which the virus was found were most likely contaminated by infected people. The infected person most likely brought and spread the virus to Wuhan market in connection with the outbreak, where some of the contaminated products were later found.

“In general, this market had all the conditions for the spread of the infection,” Dedkov said in an interview. “So, most likely, there was a mass infection of people who were connected to the location.”

“At the moment, there is no evidence of leakage from the laboratory,” Dedkov said. “If scientific facts suddenly appear from somewhere, the priority of the hypothesis will change accordingly. But right now, no. ”

Suspicions of political meddling haunt the mission,, The head of the international team, WTO Peter Ben Embarek, admitted in interviews last week that uncertain “pressures” could be exacerbated on his members. In an interview with a Chinese newspaper, Liang also lamented the political pressure on the team.

Delays in the deployment of an international team in China, repeated slippage of the report և review of its plans. The initial summary of the findings, as an idea, only upset the assumptions that the scientists were led by political authorities or others.

“The last understanding we had was that it is expected this week. “We have to see if that really happens,” said Mark Casayer, Geneva’s US Chargé d’Affaires. “We are well aware that other studies will be required.”

He said the United States hoped the report “would be a real step forward for the world to understand the origins of the virus so that we can better prepare for future epidemics.” That’s the decent thing to do, and it should end there. “

The WTO leadership, including Director-General Tedros Adanom Hebrais, has repeatedly praised the Chinese government’s early response to the outbreak, although recordings of private meetings by The Associated Press showed how senior WTO officials were disappointed by China’s lack of cooperation.

The international team relied entirely on data collected by Chinese scientists after the outbreak. »

“We did not collect any samples ourselves, we did not conduct any laboratory studies there, we just analyzed what they showed us,” he said. If some information was not collected, it was not because the Chinese wanted to hide something, he added.

The team’s visit was politically sensitive for China, which is concerned about any allegations that the outbreak was not properly regulated. Immediately after the epidemic, the Chinese government arrested some Chinese doctors who wanted to call.

Ben’s introduction, which Ben Embarek said took up about 280 pages last week, is intended to provide suggestions for laying the groundwork for further steps, such as whether the team or others are new to China for further analysis. Ultimately, the goal is to find tips to help prevent another such epidemic in the future.

Ge orjtavan Kavanagh said he had not seen the report but had doubts about what to say.

“Based on what we have heard so far, I expect that the report will probably confirm the link between wildlife farming and COVID-19, but without full evidence of how it is possible to move animals from humans to humans.” , – He said ,

Dedkov said the next step was to plan a “real-time survey”, but said there was no guarantee that future directions would find all the answers.

“But you can try,” he added. “Of course, if the source of the virus is found, it will help answer many questions. In general, it will alleviate this unnecessary political tension over the virus.”

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This report was submitted by Frank Jord son of Berlin.

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