World Health Organization to issue report on origins of Covid-19 within weeks

Friday, March 19

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives a press conference on the situation regarding the COVID-19 at Geneva's WHO headquarters in February.  (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

By Ciarán Mather

Given how the COVID-19 virus has taken a stranglehold on everyone's daily lives, it would be understandable for one to want to block out any mention of it.

However, the key to beating a virus, and almost anything else for that matter, is by studying it and learning about where it came from.

Following this sentiment, the World Health Organisation (WHO) have revealed that it will issue a report on the origins of COVID-19 in the upcoming weeks.

Although it is only in its early stages, the WHO already has an idea of where the virus potentially originated: in wildlife farms in China.

Peter Daszak, a disease ecologist on the WHO team that travelled to China, told NPR that many of the wildlife farms were allegedly supplying animals to vendors at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, where early cases of COVID-19 were discovered last year. 

Daszak also noted that, last month China shut down those farms, likely because the Chinese government thought that they were part of the transmission pathway from bats to humans. 

He said: 'I do think that SARS-CoV-2 first got into [the systems of] people in South China. It’s [certainly] looking that way.'

In addition, he explained that the Chinese government sent out instructions to farmers about how to bury, kill or burn the animals in a way that wouldn't spread disease.

Some of these wild animals could have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 from bats in the area, which in turn gave way to the emergence of the virus.

Earlier this year, the WHO dismissed conspiracy theories that the virus was man-made and released from a Chinese lab, and instead noted that the general consensus among scientists was that it hopped from bats to an intermediate species and then to humans.

It is unknown what the intermediate species was, but some scientists have suggested that it may have been a pangolin, which is a mammal similar to an ant-eater.

In an eerie case of life imitating art, the WHO's theory bears a strong parallel to the origin of the virus in the 2011 fictional drama film Contagion, which starred Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne and Jude Law.

In related COVID-19 news, the European Medicines Agency has concluded the AstraZeneca vaccine to be 'safe and effective.'