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WHO Suddenly Shelves Plans For Second Phase Investigation Into Origins Of COVID-19: Report

who-suddenly-shelves-plans-for-second-phase-investigation-into-origins-of-covid-19:-report

WHO Suddenly Shelves Plans For Second Phase Investigation Into Origins Of COVID-19: Report

Authored by Bill Pan via The Epoch Times,

More than three years after COVID-19 emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the World Health Organization (WHO) has shelved its plan for the second phase of a study into the virus’ origins, Nature reported Tuesday.

In January 2021, a year after the initial outbreak, the WHO dispatched an international team of scientists and doctors from various disciplines to Wuhan, where they worked with Chinese experts to examine evidence about the virus. The phase one investigation yielded a report that only spawned more questions over the hypothesis that the virus might have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which was tinkering with bat coronaviruses. It was also criticized for ignoring China’s failure to hand over complete, original data and samples.

In response to those concerns, the United Nations agency in July 2021 announced a plan for a more extensive second phase investigation. Specifically, it promised to find and review more data on “relevant laboratories and research institutions” in Wuhan, as well as data on wild animals sold at the city’s live animal markets in late 2019, to better understand whether it’s more likely that the pandemic began with human contact with an infected animal, or from a lab escape.

The proposed probe never materialized.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist at the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland, told Nature that the plan “has changed.”

“There is no phase two,” Van Kerkhove told the scientific journal.

“The politics across the world of this really hampered progress on understanding the origins,” she said.

In response to The Epoch Times’ request for further comments, a spokesperson for Van Kerkhove said Nature’s report was “incorrect” and that she has asked the publication for correction.

Nature has yet to issue any correction at the point of this publication.

CCP Pushback

The mere discussion of a lab escape as a possible scenario in the first phase report irritated the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime, which turned it into an excuse not to allow another WHO mission into Wuhan.

Just days after the WHO proposed a second phase investigation, the regime mounted a pushback, claiming that the lab breach hypothesis shouldn’t even be talked about, let alone be the focus of further scrutiny.

Security personnel keep watch outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology during the visit by the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, on Feb. 3, 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

The proposal, according to vice minister of China’s National Health Commission, Zeng Yixin, “did not respect common sense and violated science.” He also insisted that there wasn’t any “man-made virus” at the WIV, nor had the institute ever conducted gain-of-function experiments on the novel coronavirus.

“It is impossible for us to accept such an origin-tracing plan,” Zeng said at that time.

“We are opposed to politicizing the tracing work.”

Zeng’s comments prompted Washington to call out Beijing for its “dangerous” and “irresponsible” behavior.

“We are deeply disappointed,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “Their position is irresponsible, and frankly, dangerous. It’s not a time to be stonewalling.”

Amid the tension between China and the United States, the WHO was still seeking “directly engage” with Chinese officials and trying to establish collaborations with Chinese scientists, according to Van Kerkhove.

“We really, really want to be able to work with our colleagues there,” she told Nature. “It’s really a deep frustration.”

WHO Leadership Change

Nature’s report comes as Jeremy Farrar, a British pharmaceutical trust director involved in producing a paper arguing against the lab breach hypothesis, is set to take the helm of WHO’s science division.

According to emails obtained and publicized by independent journalist James Tobias via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Farrar had been working on a draft of the paper with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in as early as January 2020. At one point, the two appeared to discuss whether the virus could have been put in a serial passage between animals in lab experiments and then escaped.

The paper in question, titled “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2,” was published in Nature Medicine in March 2020. It has since been widely cited by government officials—Fauci himself included—and mainstream media outlets as the scientific basis for dismissing the possibility that COVID-19 might have come out of a lab.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 02/16/2023 – 17:00

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