The World Health Organization said its latest investigation into the origins of COVID-19 was inconclusive, mainly because data from China was missing, another blow to its years-long effort to determine the source of the pandemic.
The WHO expert panel report said all available data indicated the novel coronavirus that is the cause of COVID-19 probably came from animals, likely bats, a similar conclusion to the WHO’s earlier work on the subject in 2021 that resulted in a trip to China.
The missing data from China, where the first COVID-19 cases were reported in December 2019, meant it was impossible to identify precisely how the virus was first transmitted to humans.
The findings will inject urgency into the effort to renovate the WHO and its health emergency procedures as the UN agency strives to restate itself after years of criticism over its handling of the pandemic.
Director-General of UN’s WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote to the Chinese government twice in February 2022 in pursuit of more information, the report revealed.
The pandemic’s origins, which have resulted in the death of at least 15 million people, have become politicized. Scientists say it is essential to establish what happened to prevent similar pandemic outbreaks.