WHO scientist: "We saw a lot of data in Wuhan"

WHO scientist: "We saw a lot of data in Wuhan"
  • Clock-gray 16:56
  • calendar-gray 14 February 2021

The World Health Organisation-led investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic must look beyond China, a UK scientist on the team that visited Wuhan has said, as he refused to rule out a lab leak as the possible source of the outbreak, APA reports citing The Guardian.

Professor John Watson, a former deputy chief medical officer, said while China remained a “very, very possible source”, reports that the virus was circulating in other parts of the world, notably northern Italy, as early as September and October, warranted further investigation.

“I think that there are all sorts of reasons to do with the way it did start and the outbreak in Wuhan and the various bits of information about the way in which these viruses live in different animal reservoirs that suggest that China is a very, very possible source,” he told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show.

But he added that China was “by no means necessarily the place where the leap from animals to humans took place and I think we need to ensure that we are looking beyond the borders of China, as well as within China.”

A study released by the National Cancer Institute (INT) in Milan in November showed the new coronavirus was circulating in Italy in September 2019.

The findings, published by the INT’s scientific magazine Tumori Journal, revealed 11.6 per cent of 959 healthy volunteers enrolled in a lung cancer screening trial between September 2019 and March 2020 had antibodies for the virus.

A second study reportedly showed four cases dating back to the first week of October were positive for antibodies, suggesting they had got infected in September.

Faiq Mahmudov

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