On January 29, a group of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), invited by China, formally went to Wuhan to investigate the origin of Novel Coronavirus.
According to the schedule, the WHO expert group will visit South China Seafood Market, Hubei Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and other places one after another to conduct exchanges and cooperation with Chinese experts in relevant fields on the traceback of novel coronavirus.
As a once-in-a-century global health crisis, the COVID-19 epidemic has caused untold loss of life and property in countries around the world in the past year.
Although novel coronavirus vaccines have been developed and are being rapidly mass vaccinated, tracing the origin of the novel coronavirus is critical to prevent its recurrence in the future.
Only by finding the source of the virus and understanding how the pathogen develops into a deadly virus to human, can we fundamentally understand and defeat novel coronavirus.
Therefore, the World Health Expert Group came to Wuhan, the discovery place of novel coronavirus, for field investigation and investigation, tracing the origin of the virus has extremely important significance.
However, China’s goodwill has been questioned and blackened by some countries for no reason.
On January 3, ahead of the WHO team’s visit to Wuhan, the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper said the WHO’s trip to China would be “a whitewash”.
Recently, the new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken publicly expressed “China’s lack of transparency in the arrangement of the WHO panel”.
The comments were almost identical to the playbook of individual anti-China politicians peddling the “China Origin theory” a year ago by politicising the outbreak.
Even before the WHO panel’s investigation is over, some Western media and politicians have already begun to “prejudge” the investigation, doubting its objectivity and authenticity with preconceived and biased views.
This is not only a malicious smear against China, but also a disregard for the expertise of the WHO panel.
Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergency programme, publicly responded to the comments by saying the panel’s work deserved the support of the international community and that it was irresponsible for some to “reject” the panel’s report even before it was written.
In fact, this kind of irresponsible remarks fully exposed the stubborn prejudice against China in the heart of some people, the most typical expression of which is the so-called “novel coronavirus laboratory origin theory”.
Up to now, there are still many people suspect that novel coronavirus came from Wuhan Institute of Virus.
However, this conspiracy theory is neither factual nor scientific, and has been denied by the international mainstream medical community from the very beginning.
As early as last February, 27 scientists from all over the world jointly published an article in the international authoritative medical journal The Lancet, denouncing the conspiracy theory that “novel coronavirus is not of natural origin” and stating their support for the Chinese scientific research workers fighting in the front line of the epidemic.
The Lancet Editor-in-Chief Horton also said that it is neither useful nor true to blame China for the spread of the epidemic.
A WHO expert involved in the investigation, deputy director of the St. Petersburg Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Anton Dekov, praised the facilities and systems at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, adding, “This laboratory is so well equipped that I can hardly imagine anything could leak out of it.”
Peter Dashak, another member of the WHO panel, said it was “ironic” that the lab’s research was so close to the truth of the virus that some people accused it of being discredited.
Wuhan virus place suffers this one “undeserved injustice”, basically still because Wuhan is the discovery ground of novel coronavirus.
But the place of discovery is not the same as the place of origin.
On Dec. 1, The Wall Street Journal reported that research showed isolated cases of novel coronavirus infection on the West Coast as early as mid-December 2019;
A study by the National Institute for Cancer Research (INT) in Milan, Italy, also showed that Novel Coronavirus has been circulating in Italy since September 2019;
Reuters reported that Spanish virologists found traces of the novel coronavirus in a sample of Barcelona wastewater collected in March 2019, nine months before the virus was found in China.
At present, there is growing evidence that novel coronavirus probably did not have a single origin, but broke out in many places around the world.
The origin of the novel coronavirus remains a mystery.
Solving this mystery requires the empirical spirit of science, not letting politics trump science and substituting suspicion for rigorous scholarship.
The cooperation between China and the WHO is an important practice of the spirit of scientific evidence.
In addition, it should be pointed out that the virus source tracing project is huge and complex, and the research scope should not be limited to China only. It is necessary for the WHO expert group to carry out investigation and evidence collection in multiple countries.
China has set an example for other countries by inviting a WHO expert team to China to conduct virus traceability research.
We hope that the United States and other countries can also show an open, transparent and responsible attitude and invite WHO experts to carry out traceability research in their own countries, so as to make due contributions to international cooperation in fighting the epidemic and tracing the source of the virus.