According to a joint World Health Organization (WHO) and China study on the origins of COVID-19, the most likely scenario is that transmission of the coronavirus occurred from bats to humans through another animal.
In addition, a lab leak is “extremely unlikely,” according to a draft copy of the report obtained by The Associated Press (AP).
According to the AP, the report is expected to be made public on March 30. Experts are following closely because discovering the origins of the coronavirus might help scientists prevent future pandemics.
However, U.S. officials say that China’s involvement in the investigation raises serious questions.
“We’ve got real concerns about the methodology and the process that went into that report, including the fact that the government in Beijing apparently helped to write it,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a recent CNN interview, reported the AP.
China addressed Blinken’s criticism today.
“The U.S. has been speaking out on the report. By doing this, isn’t the U.S. trying to exert political pressure on the members of the WHO expert group?” asked Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, reported the AP.
The discovery of COVID-19 cases before the outbreak in the Chinese market suggests the pandemic may have begun elsewhere, according to the AP.
The report also notes there could have been milder COVID-19 cases that were undetected, and that could be a link between the market and previous cases.
“No firm conclusion therefore about the role of the Huanan market in the origin of the outbreak, or how the infection was introduced into the market, can currently be drawn,” the report said, according to the AP.