WHO Panel Says COVID Lab Leak Theory

Lab by Trnava University is licensed under Unsplash

A joint Chinese and World Health Organization panel investigating COVID-19’s origins said Tuesday it’s highly unlikely that the virus accidentally leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan.

The panel also said there were no known COVID-19 infections in Wuhan prior to December 2019, a claim that contradicts a State Department report issued in January that said the U.S. government “has reason to believe that researchers inside the [Wuhan Institute of Virology] became sick with autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses.”

The team leaders for the panel’s Chinese and WHO delegations did not completely rule out the possibility that a lab leak could have occurred but said there is not enough evidence to justify further studies into the theory.

“A laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus into the human population and therefore is not a hypothesis that would suggest future studies into our future work into understanding the origin of the virus,” WHO team lead Dr. Peter Embarek said during a press conference Tuesday.

Lab by Trnava University is licensed under Unsplash