A LONG await World Health Organisation (WHO) report on the origins of Covid has ruled out the theory that virus may have leaked from a Chinese lab as “extremely unlikely”.
WHO investigators have been blasted over the 123-page document which has been branded an “insult to billions” as the medical body was accused of bending over backwards to appease China.
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The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been at the centre of a storm over the origins of CovidCredit: Reuters
Ten experts from WHO spent a week a the Communist Party state where Covid originated as they were given a carefully stage-managed look at data and evidence accrued by China.
China has long been accused of attempting to cover up or distort its role in the story of Covid, and even the White House has raised questions over the authenticity of the probe.
The report concluded that the virus – which has killed 2.8million people – “likely” crossed from animals to mankind through an as of yet unknown creature.
And the paper agreed with the Chinese explanation that its “possible” it could have arrived in Wuhan on frozen.
The only one of the four prongs of the WHO investigation which was seemingly dismissed was the possibility of a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
WIV is known to have been studying coronviruses, was conducting gain of function research designed to increase their infectiousness, and is located just stone’s throw from where the virus emerged.
However, the joint WHO-Chinese probe found that the lab leak was “extremely unlikely”, and said they found the labs in Wuhan were “well managed” and had “high quality” facilities.
Jamie Metzl, a WHO advisor and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, who helped organise an open letter signed by 26 scientists calling for a new independent investigation, blasted the probe.
He told The Sun Online: ““This joint report isn’t just inadequate, it’s an insult to the billions of people around the world who have suffered from the pandemic.
“By bending over backwards to validate the zoonotic jump hypothesis despite the clear absence of evidence and glibly discounting the lab leak hypothesis without meaningful consideration, the report shows why having the Beijing government co-investigate a possible lab leak and deadly cover up is like asking the Kremlin to co-investigate Chernobyl.
“The world desperately needs a full and unrestricted international investigation into the origins of the pandemic. Tragically, this is not it.”
The WHO team arrive at WIV as part of their visit to ChinaCredit: Reuters
The WHO report admits that “although rare, laboratory accidents do occur” and stats that the closest known virus to SARS-CoV-2 was found being held at WIV in bat anal swabs.
It also revealed the Wuhan CDC moved locations on December 2 to a new location near the Huanan Seafood Market – where the virus was first discovered just weeks later.
The paper acknowledges that such a move may have been “disruptive” – but goes on to rule out the lab leak.
It states: “In view of the above, a laboratory origin of the pandemic was considered to be extremely unlikely.”
Dr Shi Zhengli at the Wuhan Institute of VirologyCredit: AP
The Wuhan Institute of Virology was studying bat virusesCredit: Wuhan Virology Institute
WIV was found to have the closest known virus relative of CovidCredit: EcoHealth Alliance
US intelligence officials have insisted for the past year that they have compelling evidence that the virus may have escaped from WIV.
Taking to Twitter before the release of the report, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The WHO report is a sham continuation of the CCP-WHO disinformation campaign.
“It’s why I recommended we leave WHO. Dr. Tedros collaborated with Xi to hide human to human transmission at a CRITICAL juncture.
“WIV remains the most likely source of the virus — and WHO is complicit.”
Relations between the US and China remain strained as President Joe Biden’s administration has refused to accept findings from WHO over Covid’s origins.
China and the lab have always furiously denied any allegations of a possible leak, and WHO appeared to agree with them as they wrapped up their probe in Wuhan.
However, the White House has said it has “deep concerns” over the investigation which was carried out in a tightly managed fashion alongside China.
Scientists who were on the team have already broken cover and revealed China did not hand over all the data they requested, and there was always “politics in the room”.
Documents already revealed Beijing downplayed the bug to “protect its image“, and there have been repeated allegations that China has manipulated its death and case figures.
Earlier this year, new docs released by the US revealed scientists in Wuhan fell ill with Covid-like symptoms in late 2019 – months before the pandemic began to ravage the world.