A Chinese epidemiologist has stated that USA should be a priority in the next phase of the investigations on the origin of covid-19, after a study discovered that the disease could have been circulating since December 2019, according to a state media on Tuesday. The study, published by the US National Institutes for Health (NIH), showed that at least seven people in five US states had been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid-19, weeks before the North American country will report the first official cases.
A joint study by China and the World Health Organization (WHO) published in March stated that covid-19 probably had an origin based on exchanges between wild fauna, reaching humans from bats through intermediate species. However, Beijing has supported the theory that covid-19 entered China from abroad through contaminated frozen food, while several foreign politicians call for more investigations into the possibility of it being leaked from a laboratory.
Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, explained to the state tabloid The Global Times that attention should shift to the United States, a country that was slow to test its citizens in the early stages of disease. the pandemic, and which also houses numerous biological laboratories. “All the biological weapons that the country possesses should be subject to scrutiny,” he declared.
On the US study, Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian said Wednesday that it is now “obvious” that the explosive expansion of covid-19 had “multiple origins”, and that other nations should cooperate with the WHO.
The origin of the pandemic has become a source of political tension between China and the United States, especially with attention paid to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), located in the city where the virus was first identified. at the end of 2019. China has been widely criticized for its lack of transparency when it comes to reporting data on the first cases of the disease, as well as on the viruses that WIV studies.
A report from a US national government laboratory concluded that it was plausible that the virus reached abroad due to a leak from Wuhan lab, as published this month by the Wall Street Journal. A previous study already spoke of the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 could have been circulating in Europe as early as September 2019, but experts assured that this did not necessarily mean that the disease did not originate in China, where they have been found. wildly numerous SARS-like coronaviruses.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.