Washington | IANS: The World Health Organization (WHO) is going to re-start the investigation into the origins of the COVID-19, a US media report said as quoted by IANS. A new team consisting of approximately 20 scientists, including specialists in laboratory safety, biosecurity and geneticists, and animal disease experts will re-open the investigation. These scientists will look for fresh evidence in China and other places, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Earlier in March, a joint WHO-China inquiry had dismissed the possibility of the virus emerging accidentally from a laboratory in Wuhan, and described it as "extremely unlikely". This led to Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus proposing a second phase of studies in Wuhan in July. This included audits of laboratories and markets in the city.

As per Ghebreyesus, getting access to raw data had been a challenge for the international team that traveled to China to investigate the source of the pandemic. Furthermore, with the passage of time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine the origins of the COVID-19.

However, China has rejected the probe and has accused the WHO of "arrogance" and a "disrespect for common sense". In turn, Chinese scientists have asked the WHO to extend the hunt for origins of COVID-19 to labs in places like the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Maryland.

"China will continue to support and engage in global science-based origins tracing and stands firmly opposed to political maneuvering in whatever form," Chinese President Xi Jinping told the UN General Assembly last week.

In addition, the Chinese Foreign Ministry had stated that the country will closely supervise the WHO's selection of a new team and that Beijing has also put forth a list of individuals to be part of it.

"The new team's priority needs to be data and access in the country where the first reports were identified", a WHO spokesman was quoted as saying.

Posted By: Sugandha Jha