The World Health Organization (WHO) has dropped its investigation into the origins of COVID-19 and won’t be pursuing the matter any further, according to reports.
The United Nations health agency’s first investigative foray into the origins of Covid turned up little novel information.
Critics have criticized the probe as being compromised by conflicts of interest.
Now, Nature has revealed that the organization’s second attempt at an investigation has been foiled by a lack of cooperation from China.
“There is no phase two,” WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove reportedly told Nature.
“The politics across the world of this really hampered progress on understanding the origins.”
"WHO has quietly shelved the second phase of its..investigation into the origins of..COVID.., citing ongoing challenges over attempts to conduct crucial studies in China"
WHO abandons plans for crucial second phase of COVID-origins investigation https://t.co/pTqlYz5F5c
— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) February 14, 2023
Phase two of the probe was announced after the initial trip to China by the WHO’s investigative teams in January 2021.
The team, which was forced to work closely with Chinese researchers, released a report assessing that Covid almost certainly had a natural origin and did not escape from a lab.
Plans for a second phase of the investigation were rejected by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Specifically, CCP officials objected to the WHO’s stated desire to investigate the possibility of a lab leak in Wuhan.
Van Kerkhove claims the WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has consistently pushed CCP officials to be more transparent and cooperative, to no avail.
“It’s really a deep frustration,” she said.
The question of Covid’s origins remains unanswered, nevertheless.
Researchers told Nature that the refusal of the CCP to cooperate with investigators presents an insurmountable obstacle moving forward.
Authorities outside China have investigated to the extent they are able, with various scientific bodies and government panels concluding that a lab leak of the virus is anywhere from possible to highly likely.
There remains widespread disagreement within the broader scientific community as to where Covid comes from.
Yet there’s broad agreement that a definitive answer may be impossible to ascertain without Chinese cooperation.
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