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Covid-19 transmitted by an intermediate animal, the most “probable” hypothesis according to the WHO

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                The joint study by WHO and Chinese experts concluded that transmission to humans from an intermediate animal was a "likely to very likely" hypothesis, while a laboratory incident remains "extremely unlikely".

                                    <p>The origin of Covid-19 is still hypothetical after the passage of a WHO team in China.  The joint study by experts from the UN and Chinese agency concluded that transmission of the virus to humans by an intermediate animal was "likely to very likely".  On the other hand, the laboratory incident that could have caused the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is "extremely unlikely", according to the same team. 

The specialists, in the final version of the report, which AFP obtained a copy of, did not have enough leeway, according to some, to work freely during their four-week stay in China. They judged that “given the literature on the role of farm animals as intermediate hosts for emerging diseases, there is a need for further surveys including a greater geographic extent. [en Chine et ailleurs]”.

This report confirms the first conclusions of the experts that they presented on February 9 in Wuhan where the virus appeared. Experts favor the generally accepted theory of the natural transmission of the virus from a reservoir animal – probably the bat – to humans, through another animal that has not yet been identified.

However, direct transmission of the virus via the reservoir animal is considered “possible to probable”, by the report. Experts have also not ruled out that of transmission by frozen meat – a path favored by Beijing – judging that this scenario was “possible”.

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Investigate “in larger areas”

The report recommends continuing studies based on these three hypotheses, but it brushes aside the possibility that the virus was transmitted to humans due to a laboratory accident.

The administration of former US President Donald Trump accused the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which conducts research on very dangerous pathogens, of having let the coronavirus escape, voluntarily or not. In their report, the experts indicate not to have studied the case of a voluntary leak, and consider “extremely unlikely” an accident.

The mission on the origins of the transmission of the virus to humans, deemed extremely important in trying to better fight a possible next epidemic, has struggled to set up, China seeming very reluctant to let these global specialists come. from various disciplines such as epidemiology, but also zoology.

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In its findings, the report states that studies of the supply chain of the Huanan market (and other markets in Wuhan) failed to find “evidence of the presence of infected animals, but the analysis of supply chains provided information “useful for targeted monitoring studies, especially in neighboring regions.

Experts also call for “not to neglect products of animal origin from regions outside Southeast Asia”. And to conclude: “Surveys must be designed […] in larger areas and in more countries “.

With AFP


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