The World Health Organization responded to reports that new data from Wuhan wet markets pointed to the raccoon dog as the source of the coronavirus pandemic instead of a lab leak.
The new data was uploaded to an international database by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in January and then deleted in March after scientists stumbled on the new information.
It reportedly contained genetic data garnered from samples in the Wuhan wet market from 2020.
In a media briefing on Friday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus chastised China for not supplying the information earlier and called for all of the data to be released.
“This data do not provide a definitive answer to the question of how the pandemic began, but every piece of data is important in moving us closer to that answer, and every piece of data relating to studying the origins of COVID-19 needs to be shared with the international community immediately,” he explained.
“This data could have – and should have – been shared three years ago,” Tedros added.
WHO infectious disease epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove cautioned that the data did not mean that the virus had been found in any animal, nor did it prove that the disease jumped from animals to people.
“What the data showed, the results showed that was presented to us, was that there’s molecular evidence of animals in the market and those animals included raccoon dogs as well as a number of other animal species,” said Van Kerkhove.
“So again more information needs to be available on the data itself, and accessible to others around the world, but also that the analysis with that date needs to shared so that a discussion and a debate can be had to understand its full implications,” she concluded.
In February, a report from the U.S. Department of Energy found that a leak from a Chinese laboratory was likely the source of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We continue to call on China to be transparent in sharing data, and to conduct the necessary investigations and share the results,” said Tedros at the briefing.
Here’s a news video about the development:
COVID-19 may have originated in raccoon dogs in Chinese market, report sayswww.youtube.com
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