A coronavirus research laboratory in Wuhan, the Chinese city where Covid-19 first appeared, will not be visited by investigators from the World Health Organization who will investigate the origins of the pandemic.
WHO sends mission to Wuhan, Hubei province, but said investigators would only be there to “advance the understanding of animal hosts for Covid-19 and verify how the disease jumped between animals and humans ”.
The statement appears to exclude a visit to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and suggests that the body has already ruled out the possibility that the virus may have been cooked or modified in the laboratory.
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WHO bosses have also refused to provide details of the places his investigators will inspect or the people they will meet – however, it is understood that Chinese authorities will monitor and limit all movements.
It had previously been revealed that the laboratory had kept a coronavirus sample that was 96.2% identical to Covid-19 for almost a decade. This has sparked speculation about the origin of the virus, despite the fact that scientists overwhelmingly believe that the genetic code of the virus suggests that it has mutated naturally.
Richard Ebright, molecular biologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said, “To be of any value, an investigation must address the possibility that the virus entered humans through a laboratory accident. ”
He added that the WHO should also determine whether the ability of the virus to infect humans has been “improved by laboratory manipulation”.