China to Study Blood Bank Samples Dating Back to 2019 for COVID-19 Origins Probe, Reports Say
© AP Photo / Mark SchiefelbeinA visitor wearing a face mask takes a photo of a model of a coronavirus and boxes for COVID-19 vaccines at a display by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic largely under control, China's capital on Saturday kicked off one of the first large-scale public events since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, as tens of thousands of attendees were expected to visit displays from nearly 2,000 Chinese and foreign companies showcasing their products and services.
© AP Photo / Mark Schiefelbein
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - China will study thousands of samples from the Wuhan Blood Center, including those stored there since 2019, as part of the investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, CNN reported on Wednesday, citing a Chinese official.
The blood bank contains up to 200,000 samples, including those obtained in the last months of 2019. An expert panel from the World Health Organization (WHO) determined in early 2021 that the samples might be a useful source of data regarding the origins of the virus, the broadcaster said.
The tissue samples have been stored in the blood bank for a required period of two years to serve as evidence during probes, according to Chinese officials. As this term will soon expire for samples dating October-November 2019, Chinese experts are preparing to test them, the source told the outlet.
Wuhan declared the world's first coronavirus outbreak in late December 2019. The United States and several other countries have blamed the pandemic on the Chinese government, saying that the virus was leaked from a state lab in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Beijing has consistently denied the allegations.
In March, the WHO issued the first report of its fact-finding mission to China, which failed to determine the exact source of the virus, but concluded that transmission from bats to humans is the most probable scenario, while the theory of a leak from a state laboratory in Wuhan is very unlikely.