China has additional scientific data that would help to better understand the origin of COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) assured Thursday, reiterating its calls for transparency.
“Without full access to the information that China has […] all hypotheses [on the origin of the virus] are on the table. This is the position of the WHO and this is why we have asked China to cooperate,” WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference.
< p>“If she does, we will know what happened or how it started,” he said.
Three years after the outbreak of COVID-19, the Debates about its origin have rebounded in recent weeks.
The scientific world widely believes that the pandemic started because an animal transmitted the virus to humans, probably in the Chinese market of Huanan.
However, researchers and American officials still defend the hypothesis of a laboratory leak, a priori the institute of Wuhan, the city of the market.
China strongly rejects this theory, but has also long denied that the Huanan market could have accommodated animals capable of transmitting the virus.
However, new Chinese data on samples collected at the beginning of 2020 on the Huanan market, published online at the end of January before being withdrawn for an undetermined reason, have made it possible to begin to lift the veil on what may have happened.< /p>
These data, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, who leads the fight against COVID at the WHO, told reporters, show that there is molecular evidence proving that animals were being sold on the market. market. “We suspected it, but we had no proof,” she said.
“We also know that in the samples that tested positive for SARS-Cov-2 there was DNA from animals,” she added.
All of these are “ clues” that can be used to better understand the origin of the virus, she said, comparing the work of scientists to that of a “detective”.
But as long as all the data is n have not been published, in particular on the origin of these animals, no hypothesis can be ruled out, according to the American epidemiologist.
In an editorial published Thursday in the journal Science, she also assured: “China has advanced technical capabilities and so I think there is more data that has not yet been shared.”
“We know some have additional information and we need that scientists, public health professionals and governments share this information. This is not a game,” she said during the press conference.