The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on May 4 that comments of US State Secretary Mike Pompeo over the origin of the novel coronavirus were “speculative”. During a television interview on May 3, the top US diplomat had said that there is “significant amount” of evidence that the virus originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.
Dr Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergency expert, told a virtual press conference that the UN health agency has not received any data-specific evidence from the US government relating to the purported origin of the virus. He added that if data and evidence are available, then it will be for the United States government to decide whether and when it can be shared.
“So from our perspective, this remains speculative,” said Ryan.
The origin of SARS-CoV-2 is not known but preliminary studies suggested that the bats could be the source since the coronavirus present in bats has a genome that is 96 per cent identical to the novel coronavirus. It is believed that pangolin was the immediate host because the bat coronavirus cannot bind to receptors in human cells, however, there has not been any concrete evidence.
The United States and Australia have been demanding an independent investigation into the origins of coronavirus outbreak, especially after claims, though unsubstantiated, that it originated from a Wuhan laboratory. As demand for an inquiry into the origin of the coronavirus outbreak gained momentum, the WHO reportedly said that it is hoping to get an invite from China to take part in its investigations.
US President Donald Trump has been under fire for his handling of coronavirus which has claimed nearly 70,000 lives in America alone. The Trump administration has repeatedly accused Beijing of covering the dangerous nature of the disease and not reporting the sustained human-to-human transmission until it was spread in every province of China. Amid soaring tensions, Chinese state media said that the US politicians are trying to shift the blame on China for the mess they have created with their domestic anti-Covid efforts.