China defends its search for COVID virus source

Beijing –

Chinese health officials defended an investigation into the origin of the COVID-19 virus, lashing out at the World Health Organization on Saturday after World Health Organization leaders said Beijing should have shared genetic information sooner. condemned.

Shen Hongbin, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the WHO’s comments were “offensive and disrespectful”. He accused the WHO of “trying to smear China” and said it should avoid helping others “politicize COVID-19.”

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on March 17 that newly disclosed genetic material collected in Wuhan, central China, where the first cases were detected in late 2019, was “shared three years ago. It should have been,” he said.

“As a responsible country and as a scientist, we have always actively shared our research results with scientists around the world,” Shen said at a press conference.

The origin of COVID-19 is still being debated and is the focus of intense political debate.

Many scientists believe it was transmitted to humans from animals at a market in Wuhan, which is also home to laboratories including China’s largest facility for collecting the virus. This prompted the suggestion that COVID-19 may have escaped him from one.

The ruling Communist Party is trying to deflect criticism of its response to the outbreak by spreading uncertainty about the outbreak’s origins.

Officials have repeated anti-US conspiracy theories that the virus was created by Washington and smuggled to China. The government also says the virus may have entered China via mail or food shipments, although scientists overseas have not seen evidence to support it.

Chinese authorities have punished doctors for hiding information about the 2019 Wuhan outbreak and warning others about the new disease. The ruling party reversed its policy in early 2020, closing access to major cities and most international travel to contain the disease.

The genetic material cited by WHO’s Tedros, recently uploaded to a global database, was collected at a market in Wuhan where wildlife was sold in 2020.

Scientists say samples show that the tanuki’s DNA is mixed with the virus. They say they add evidence to the hypothesis that COVID-19 originated in animals rather than in a laboratory, but they do not resolve the question of where it originated. He said it may have spread to

The information was removed from the database by Chinese authorities after foreign scientists contacted the CDC, but was copied by French experts and shared with researchers outside of China.

Zhou Lei, a CDC researcher who worked in Wuhan, said Chinese scientists “shared all the data we have” and “adhered to the principles of openness, objectivity and transparency.” ‘ said.

Shen said the scientists investigated a possible lab leak and “shared our research and data fully without any concealment or reservation.”

Shen said the source of COVID-19 has not yet been found, but that it took years to identify the AIDS virus and its origin is still unknown.

“Some forces and figures who instigate and participate in the traceability issue and seek to smear China should not assume that their clumsy manipulation will blind the vision of the scientific community around the world,” Shen said. said Mr.

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