• WHO, progress in the investigation on the origin of the virus: "data never seen before"

  • The WHO team visits the live animal market in Wuhan, China


04 February 2021

The head of the WHO team of experts, who arrived in China last month to investigate the origin of the pandemic in Wuhan seems at the moment to reject, judging it not very credible, the thesis of a laboratory leak, in his opinion only an "excellent subject. "for a movie or a TV series.

"If we start following and chasing ghosts here and there, we will never go anywhere," Peter Ben Embarek said in an AFP interview, however promising to "follow the science and the facts" to draw a conclusion. definitive on the origin of the pandemic.

Yesterday, the team visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology accused, in particular by former US President Donald Trump, of having let the virus escape from one of its laboratories, accidentally or not.

This is the most controversial site visited by the delegation so far.

Since 2012, the Wuhan Institute of Virology has had a high-security laboratory (P3, "class 3 pathogen"), which studies many viruses, including coronaviruses.

The site also has a P4 level (for even more dangerous pathogens), which can host strains such as Ebola, and which the WHO has been able to visit.

Ben Embarek says he had "very frank discussions" with his Chinese interlocutors, useful "to understand" their position on "a number of statements seen and read in the media".

Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo once again pointed the finger at the Wuhan laboratory in mid-January, despite no evidence to prove it.

The WHO delegation will complete the mission next week.

"We will not have complete answers on the origin of the virus, but it will be a good first step," concludes Ben Embarek.