About the lab accident theory of coronavirus: WHO team says it’s ‘extremely unlikely’

Coronavirus is unlikely to have escaped from a government lab in Wuhan, China, experts with the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Tuesday following an investigation into the virus’s origins.

“Our initial findings suggest that the introduction through an intermediary host species is the most likely pathway and one that will require more studies and more specific targeted research,” Peter Ben Embarek, an expert with the WHO food safety and animal diseases division, said in an early morning press conference.

A team from the WHO arrived in Wuhan on Jan. 14, more than a year after the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in the city, to investigate the lab in a bid to learn about how the virus’s origin and how it spreads.

There was speculation early in the pandemic, much of which was fueled by former President Trump, that the virus was either deliberately manufactured or leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“The findings suggest that the laboratory incidents hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus to the human population,” Embarek said, adding that it does not warrant future study.

WHO on the upswing: Trump frequently attacked the WHO as being too soft on China and announced the U.S.’s intent to withdraw. The Biden administration announced it is scrapping that move and staying in the WHO.

“This is a good day for WHO and a good day for global health,” said Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus late last month. “The role of the United States, its role, global role is very, very crucial.”

But for critics of the agency, the lack of any concrete findings is yet another example of how the WHO is too deferential to China.