The World Health Organization (WHO) has abandoned its efforts to investigate the origins of COVID-19, Nature first reported Tuesday.
The WHO’s first investigative foray into the origins of COVID-19 turned up little novel information and critics derided the probe as compromised by conflicts of interest. Now, the organization’s second attempt has been foiled by a lack of cooperation from China, according to Nature.
“WHO has quietly shelved the second phase of its..investigation into the origins of..COVID.., citing ongoing challenges over attempts to conduct crucial studies in China”
WHO abandons plans for crucial second phase of COVID-origins investigation https://t.co/pTqlYz5F5c
— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) February 14, 2023
“There is no phase two,” WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove told Nature. “The politics across the world of this really hampered progress on understanding the origins.”
Phase two of the probe had been announced after the WHO investigative teams’ initial Jan. 2021 trip to China. The team, which was forced to work closely with Chinese researchers, released a report assessing that COVID-19 almost certainly had a natural origin and did not escape from a lab.
Plans for a second phase of the investigation were rejected by China. Specifically, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials objected to WHO’s stated desire to investigate possible lab breaches in Wuhan. (RELATED: Fauci Was Part Of Group Assembled To ‘Disprove’ Lab Leak Theory, Emails Show)
Van Kerkhove said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has consistently pushed Chinese officials to be more transparent and cooperative, to no avail. “It’s really a deep frustration,” she said.
The question of COVID-19’s origins remains unanswered, and researchers told Nature that the refusal of the CCP to cooperate with investigators presents an insurmountable obstacle moving forward.
Authorities outside China have investigated to the extent they are able, with various scientific bodies and government panels concluding that a lab-leak of the virus is anywhere from possible to highly likely. There remains widespread disagreement within the broader scientific community as to where COVID-19 comes from, but broad agreement that a definitive answer may be impossible to ascertain without Chinese cooperation.