Coronavirus likely came from animals – WHO draft report

The report gives four possible sources for the virus and the most likely scenario is via an intermediate animal host.

A woman wearing a mask
The least likely source of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 was a laboratory leak, according to a draft WHO report on the origins of the virus. Picture:Tumisu from Pixabay

PRETORIA, March 30 (ANA) – It is believed that the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 probably spread to people through an animal and likely started spreading within a month or two before it was noticed in December 2019, CNN reported on Tuesday, citing a World Health Organization (WHO) draft report.

The US broadcaster said the WHO was scheduled to release the final report on its investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 on Tuesday.

CNN said the report gave four possible sources for the virus, the most likely scenario being an intermediate animal host, possibly a wild animal captured and then raised on a farm.

The least likely source was a laboratory leak, the WHO’s joint international team concluded, according to CNN.

Associated Press (AP) said topping the list was transmission from bats through another animal, which the report said was likely to very likely. A direct spread from bats to humans was evaluated as likely.

Frozen food was not a likely source, the report indicated.

“There is no conclusive evidence for food-borne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the probability of a cold-chain contamination with the virus from a reservoir is very low,” CNN cited the report.

However, AP said the findings offered few new insight into how the virus first emerged and left many questions unanswered.

But, the report does provide more detail on the reasoning behind the researchers’ conclusions, AP added.

The news agency said they received the draft copy on Monday from a diplomat based in Geneva and indicated that it was not clear whether the report might still be changed prior to release.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged that he had received the report over the weekend and said it would be formally presented on Tuesday.

“All hypotheses are on the table and warrant complete and further studies,” Tedros was quoted as saying at a news conference.

CNN said the report was written by a joint international team made up of 17 Chinese experts, 17 experts from other countries, the WHO, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network and the World Organization for Animal Health. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) participated as an observer.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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