A leading scientist at the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 project in China has said that the next visit could help find more research on the causes of the disease, but it should be different from any other research provided by Beijing.
The comments from Dutch medical expert Marion Koopmans came on Tuesday after the United States called for international experts to allow the diagnosis of coronavirus and early days of outbreaks, the second phase of a WHO study on coronary origin.
Koopmans was part of a WHO-led team that visited China a few weeks earlier this year and in March published a report with Chinese scientists who said the virus may have transmitted from bats to humans through other animals.
“Getting started through laboratory processes seems to be the most difficult process,” his report said.
Discussions on the issue erupted this week as US law enforcement agencies reviewed reports that researchers at the Chinese virology laboratory in Wuhan became seriously ill in 2019 one month before the COVID-19 cases.
U.S. state media said there was no evidence that the disease came from a lab.
The US promotes transparency
White House coronavirus consultant Andy Slavitt on Monday said WHO and China need to do more to provide clear answers around the world.
“We are looking for more transparent solutions from China,” Slavitt said at a coronavirus group meeting Tuesday. Full support from WHO is needed, and “we don’t have it now”.
Dr Anthony Fauci, head of communicable diseases in the United States, said “most of us” consider whether COVID-19 was a natural phenomenon, but “we do not know 100%” and it is worthwhile to investigate.
Koopmans said the group wants to conduct research in China in a number of areas and is awaiting the results of the WHO talks.
He also spoke of the need to have a clear mandate to do research, not to do research.
“I think this is inconsistent. That’s why we believe I’m including a combination that doesn’t work. In that case, you’re saying we’re going to do research, or we’re going to do the next research, or both, but through different channels, otherwise you’re not moving forward,” he said.