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Experts Question WHO’s Capability to Lead Covid-19 Probe, Call For Independent Investigation

China has been stalling the WHO probe into the origin of the Covid-19 virus for months. Initially, the country did not allow the investigative team to visit Wuhan from where the first cases were reported. Even after allowing them access, experts say that the visit was strictly controlled by the Chinese government and it was highly unlikely that this investigation could uncover the truth.

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Ghebreyesus addressing a press conference on Covid-19 (Photo Credit: Xhinhua)

New Delhi: Several experts around the world are questioning whether the World Health Organisation (WHO) is up to the task when it comes to probing the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and are calling for a broad and independent investigation into the pandemic. The experts say that it is impossible for an agency to investigate into the pandemic with the tensions between the United States and China.

They are stating that the best way forwards in an independent analysis likes of which were done in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster.

“We will never find the origins relying on the World Health Organization,” said Lawrence Gostin, director of the WHO Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights at Georgetown University.

“For a year and a half, they have been stonewalled by China, and it’s very clear they won’t get to the bottom of it.”

The WHO was granted access by China to Wuhan and the first phase of the study has also been published which concluded that the theory that the virus was leaked from the lab was “highly unlikely”.

Gostin said that the only solution in sight is if the United Sates and the other countries revise the entire international health laws and make a new entity altogether which has vast powers to investigate the origins of the pandemic.

Richard Ebright, Molecular Biologist, Rutgers University has said that the first phase of the WHO-China study was a “farce”.

Ebright added that China not only controlled the entire procedure to allow experts into China but also approved the contents of what could go into the final report that WHO published.

Raed More: Johnson & Johnson Says Single Shot of Its Covid-19 Vaccine Neutralises Delta Variant

In 2012, six miners in China’s Mojiang mine fell sick with pneumonia after being exposed to infected bats which is considered to be the closest genetic relative to Covid-19.

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However, China shut down the mine confiscated all the samples that were collected, and warned locals not to talk to any reporters.

Jamie Metzl, who sits on a WHO advisory group, has suggested along with colleagues the possibility of an alternative investigation set up by the Group of Seven industrialized nations.

Jeffrey Sachs, a professor at Columbia University, said the U.S. must be willing to subject its own scientists to a rigorous examination and recognize that they might be just as culpable as China.

“The U.S. was deeply involved in research at the laboratories in Wuhan,” Sachs said, referring to U.S. funding of controversial experiments and the search for animal viruses capable of triggering outbreaks.

“The idea that China was behaving badly is already the wrong premise for this investigation to start,” he said. “If lab work was somehow responsible (for the pandemic), the likelihood that it was both the U.S. and China working together on a scientific initiative is very high.”

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