China Proposes Own View on Finding COVID-19 Origins, Suggests It Could Have Been Imported Into Wuhan
© REUTERS / CHINA DAILYA medical worker in protective suit tests nucleic acid samples at a laboratory of Northern Jiangsu People's Hospital, following new cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province, China August 4, 2021
© REUTERS / CHINA DAILY
China has been battling against being labeled the country allegedly responsible for the coronavirus pandemic since its onset. The first officially registered cases of COVID-19 were in the Chinese city of Wuhan, but Beijing has repeatedly suggested that the pathogen could have been imported into the country.
The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has unveiled its own suggestion regarding how the World Health Organisation (WHO) should handle the second phase of the investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 virus. According to the Chinese CDC, WHO investigators should focus their efforts on studying cold-chain products and their logistics ahead of the detection of the first COVID-19 cases in Wuhan – specifically between September and December 2019.
The Chinese CDC epidemiologists said that samples of COVID-19 could be found on some of the cold-chain products shipped to other Chinese cities, namely to Beijing and Dalian, right before the two cities suffered limited outbreaks of the disease in summer 2020. These incidents happened after China managed to quickly end the original outbreak in Wuhan in April 2020.
© REUTERS / THOMAS PETERStaff members in protective suits stand at Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine where members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are visiting, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 29, 2021.
Staff members in protective suits stand at Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine where members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are visiting, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 29, 2021.
© REUTERS / THOMAS PETER
Chinese epidemiologists have thus suggested that COVID-19 might have been imported into Wuhan, either from another Chinese region or from a foreign supplier of cold-chain products. Members of the country's CDC have proposed that the WHO explore this hypothesis and track the supply chain for this type of product. The scientists stressed in their publications that there have been numerous evidence of COVID-19 being present in other parts of the world, specifically the US, Italy, Spain and France, ahead of the detection of the first cases in China and as early as March 2019.
"We conducted epidemiological investigations, nucleic acid testing, antibody detections, cold-chain food retrospection and comparative analysis of viral gene sequencing of COVID-19 patients and food packages and confirmed that the virus was imported from other countries or regions through the cold-chain transportation", Ma Huilai, an official from the China CDC said.
The researchers from the Chinese CDC further noted that over half of the stores in the Huanan seafood market, a suspected source of the original infection, imported 29 types of cold-chain products from 20 countries and regions of China.
The publication by the Chinese epidemiologists comes as the WHO is planning on carrying out the second phase of the investigation into the origins of the virus that has taken the lives of over 4,493,000 people around the world and disrupted economies. The previous probe yielded no answers as to when and how the virus jumped from animals to humans, and the global health body announced in July 2021 that a new investigation will be conducted. The announcement of the second phase probe also coincided with the US intelligence services opening an investigation into the allegations that the virus could have escaped from a Chinese laboratory.
Beijing has strongly rejected the idea of conducting the second phase probe on its territory, arguing that the new investigation is politicised and not based on science. The US probe into the allegation of the laboratory origin of the virus, however, produced a report in which most US intelligence agencies said that the virus was most likely naturally born, although some agents have refused to absolutely rule out the man-made theory.