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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

WHO Expert Expects Covid-19’s Origins to Be Found Within a Few Years

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Scientists will likely discover the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic within the next few years, after they pursue and zero in on an animal source for the new coronavirus, a member of an international team of investigators led by the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

“I’m convinced we’re going to find out fairly soon,” said Peter Daszak, a member of the WHO-led team and a zoologist who specializes in hunting for viral origins in animals. “Within the next few years we’ll have real significant data on where this came from and how it emerged.”

Dr. Daszak was one of three team members who spoke at a webinar organized by Chatham House, an international-affairs think tank in London, about their recent monthlong trip to the Chinese city of Wuhan. The Huanan market there was the site of the first known outbreak of the coronavirus in December 2019.

International team members learned on the trip that meat from animals known to carry coronaviruses belonging to the same family as the pandemic virus were sold in the Huanan market, Dr. Daszak said.

Members of the mission have expressed frustration with the limited information Chinese authorities handed over to the investigators, particularly regarding early Covid-19 cases that could help determine whether the virus was circulating before the first cases were confirmed.

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