WHO, advisers urge China to release all Covid-related data after new survey
Advisors of World Health Organization asked this Saturday China to release all information related to the origin of the Covid-19 after new findings were briefly shared on an international database used to track pathogens.
New sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as well as additional genomic data based on samples collected from a live animal market in Wuhan, Chinain 2020, were briefly uploaded to the GISAID database by Chinese scientists earlier this year, allowing them to be viewed by researchers from other countries, according to the statement by the WHO Scientific Advisory Group on the Origins of New Pathogens (SAGO) .
The sequences suggested that raccoon dogs were present at the market and may also have been infected with the coronavirus, providing a new clue in the chain of transmission that eventually reached humans.
Access to the information was later restricted “apparently to allow for further data updates” by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
WHO officials discussed the matter with Chinese colleagues, who explained that the new data were to be used to update a 2022 preprint study. China plans to resubmit the paper to the journal Nature for publication, according to the release.
WHO officials say this information, while not conclusive, represents a new lead in investigating the origins of COVID and should have been shared immediately.
“These data do not provide a definitive answer to the question of how the pandemic started, but all data are important in bringing us closer to that answer,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.
“This data could – and should – have been shared three years ago.”
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