While calling the World Health Organization (WHO)’s second phase study proposal on COVID-19 origins lacking respect to common sense and arrogant to science, Chinese health officials and observers on Thursday said China will not accept such a plan and the next stage study should be carried out in more countries and places around the world on the basis of wide consultations among member states, not in places that have already been inspected.
The WHO’s plan was proposed as the US-led West intensifies the politics-driven conspiracy about a “lab-leak” theory and exerted political pressure on international scientists to give up their scientific position on the origins issue. Chinese observers called on the WHO to adhere to science and resist the adverse trend of politicizing the COVID-19 origins issue.
Disgruntled by the US’ overt political manipulation and shrugging off international concerns on its biological labs, a group of Chinese netizens drafted an open letter to ask the WHO to investigate the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, which has generated more than 7 million signatures in less than six days.
Move on to more countries Zeng Yixin, deputy director of the National Health Commission, said at Thursday’s media briefing on COVID-19 origins that China has submitted phase-2 COVID-19 origins-tracing recommendations to the WHO believing the study should be based on the WHO-China joint study in January, and should be carried out in many more places around the world after full consultations with member states.
The WHO on Friday proposed a second phase study into the origins of the coronavirus in China, which includes studies of animal markets in and around Wuhan and audits of relevant labs and research institutions operating in the area of the initial human cases identified in December 2019.
Zeng said that he was “shocked” to read the proposal and he could sense the “lack of respect for common sense and the arrogance to science in the proposal.”
“It’s impossible for us to accept such as plan,” Zeng said, noting that the second phase study should not be carried out in places that have already been inspected in the first phase study, especially places where a clear conclusion has been reached.
“If some countries believe that further investigation in this area should be carried out, then the investigations should be conducted in labs that have not yet been inspected,” Liang said.
Liang told the Global Times at the media briefing that multiple studies in different countries point to the possibility that COVID-19 had surfaced before the cases previously reported.
He listed some examples. An Italian woman’s skin biopsy detected genomic sequence of the coronavirus in November 2019. Donated blood check-ups in nine US states found 106 blood samples, ranging from December 13, 2019, to January 17, 2020, that tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.
The long list of scientists’ studies indicates that Wuhan might not be the first place of the coronavirus’ inception, Liang said.
Zeng said that China hopes the WHO could consider recommendations proposed by Chinese scientists, truly regard the tracing task as a scientific issue, get rid of political interference and promote the origins study in more countries and places around the world.
Renowned scientist in evolutionary biology and genetics Wu Chung-I told the Global Times on Thursday that the novel coronavirus can only come from nature, and cannot be man-made. He called on the WHO and international scientists to seek truth with the spirit of science.
Wu and 20 other Chinese scientists, and one British scholar working in China published an article recently, strongly demonstrating why the novel coronavirus cannot be man-made by using classical evolutionary theory.
Noting some countries led by the US tried to politicize the issue of tracing the origins with the US even directing intelligence agencies to launch a 90-day investigation into China, Wu, a professor at the School of Life Sciences of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province and director of the Beijing Institute of Genomics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, stressed the main reason why the global epidemic is out of control is that the voices of scientists are too weak. If the global response had been scientific and positive, the COVID-19 outbreak would have ended in May last year.