WHO issues call for experts to help with COVID origins probe

WHO issues call for experts to help with COVID origins probe

The World Health Organization has issued a call for health experts to join a new advisory group it is forming, in part to address the agency’s fraught attempts to investigate how the coronavirus pandemic started.

In a statement on Friday, the United Nations health agency said the new scientific group would provide the WHO with an independent analysis of the work done to date to pinpoint the origins of COVID-19 and to advise the agency on necessary next steps.

The experts will also provide guidance on critical issues regarding the potential emergence of other viruses capable of triggering outbreaks, such as MERS and Ebola.

The WHO said it is seeking up to 25 officials with relevant expertise to apply for membership in its new scientific advisory group by September 10.

Critics have slammed the WHO’s initial assessment, saying it was a flawed effort and noting all of the team members sent to China needed Chinese government approval, as did the WHO report.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged last month it was “premature” to rule out the lab-leak theory, describing laboratory accidents as “common”.

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