WHO announces new team to study coronavirus origins

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday announced a new team to study the origins of the novel coronavirus.

Approximately 700 people applied for a spot on the team, with specialists in multiple fields included in the new group to satisfy those who believe the virus came from a lab in China.

The team will advise the WHO on investigations into future diseases as well as study the beginnings of the coronavirus.

“The emergence of new viruses with the potential to spark epidemics and pandemics is a fact of nature, and while SARS-CoV-2 is the latest such virus, it will not be the last,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Avoid politicization: The team is looking to be a more permanent body so it can avoid politicization in future pandemics, WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead told The New York Times.

“We want to take this back to the science, take this back to our mandate as an organization to bring together the world’s best minds to outline what needs to be done,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead told the newspaper

China and the World Health Organization released a scrutinized report earlier this year concluding the virus most likely came from wildlife instead of a laboratory.

An investigation by the U.S. intelligence community also said there was inconclusive evidence to determine if the virus came from wildlife or a laboratory in Wuhan, China.