It was said again: the coronavirus is unlikely to have leaked from a Chinese lab and is more likely to have jumped to humans from an animal, a World Health Organization expert said Tuesday. Animal diseases expert Peter Ben Embarek made the assessment at the end of a visit to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where a team of scientists is investigating the possible origins of the coronavirus. The WHO team is considering several theories for how the disease first ended up in humans. Transmission through the trade in frozen products was one of them. The WHO team that includes experts from 10 nations has visited hospitals, research institutes, a traditional market tied to the outbreak and other sites on their visit. The pandemic has now sickened more than 105 million people and killed more than 2.2 million worldwide.
The findings were exposed at a press conference. Liang Wannian, head of the China side of the joint mission, said animal transmission remained the likely route, but “the reservoir hosts remain to be identified”. In fact, nothing new was added at this time. The WHO experts spent a month in China including two weeks in quarantine.