WHO to Investigate COVID-19 Origins One Last Time, Forms New Team

The WHO DG asserted that an inquiry is crucial because COVID-19 will not be the last virus to plague the world.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>The World Health Organization. Image used for representational purposes.&nbsp;</p></div>

The World Health Organization announced on Wednesday, 13 October, that it has formed a new Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) to conduct an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19, according to the official website of the WHO.

A team of 26 experts will be responsible for developing "a global framework to define and guide studies into the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential, including SARS-CoV-2".

A senior official said that this inquiry may be the WHO's last chance at understanding the origins of a virus that has taken the lives of almost 50,00,000 people, The Guardian reported.

The American epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, who has led the WHO’s policies towards COVID-19 said that there is no time to waste and it is possible that SAGO will want to look more into China as a part of its investigation.

The Chinese ambassador to the United Nations warned on Wednesday, 13 October, that SAGO's inquiry should not be "politicised", added The Guardian report.

China's National Health Commission (NHC) has already rejected the WHO's proposal to conduct a renewed inquiry into the origins of the virus, arguing that the request "disregards common sense and defies science".

Stating the necessity to form a new team to study the origins of COVID-19, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, said that the "emergence of new viruses with the potential to spark epidemics and pandemics is a fact of nature, and while SARS-CoV-2 is the latest such virus, it will not be the last,” as quoted by the WHO's official website.

(With inputs from World Health Organization and The Guardian.)

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