The World Health Organization has been denied its requests to participate in the investigation into the coronavirus’ origins, according to a WHO representative in China.
Dr. Gauden Galea told Sky News that although there is a national investigation happening, the organization has yet to be invited to join.
“WHO is making requests of the health commission and of the authorities,” he said. “The origins of virus are very important, the animal-human interface is extremely important and needs to be studied.”
“The priority is we need to know as much as possible to prevent the reoccurrence.”
The WHO has also not been able to investigate logs from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan CDC, the two laboratories working with viruses in Wuhan, China, Galea said.
“From all available evidence, WHO colleagues in our three-level system are convinced that the origins are in Wuhan and that it is a naturally occurring, not a manufactured, virus,” he told Sky News.
These logs are necessary to understand the origin of the virus and “would need to be part of any full report,” according to Galea.
China has been adamant that the investigation into the virus’ origins should be done by scientists, not as part of an independent public inquiry — as countries like Australia have requested.
Galea also responded to criticism the WHO has received due to its early response to the pandemic.
“We only know what China is reporting to us at that period in time,” he said.
He added that China “will have to answer for” claiming between Jan. 3 and Jan. 16 that there were only 41 cases in Wuhan.
“Is it likely that there were only 41 cases for that period of time? I would think not,” Galea told Sky News.
“Is that a matter of difficulty in finding were they getting their act together, is it a question of definition? I cannot speculate. But it would have been during that period obviously some growth would have been happening.”
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The WHO has come under fire for a Jan. 14 tweet that read: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.”
Galea said the WHO suspected there would be human-to-human transmission, but the cases reported and investigations did not confirm that.
Galea also cautioned against planning on the production of a vaccine to end the outbreak soon.
“The fact that we don’t yet have a vaccine [in production] for any coronavirus suggests that we should not be making plan A the fact that we’re going to have a vaccine by such and such date,” he said.
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