Upcoming Webinar:Join our experts for discussion on ‘Re-inventing Finance: with Process, People & Technology’.
you are here: HomeNewscoronavirus

Data withheld from WHO team probing COVID-19 origins in China: WHO Chief

China refused to give raw data on early COVID-19 cases to the WHO-led team, one of the team's investigators has already said, potentially complicating efforts to understand how the global pandemic began.

March 30, 2021 / 10:10 PM IST
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Data was withheld from World Health Organization investigators who travelled to China to research the origins of the coronavirus epidemic, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday.

He made the comments to the agency's member states as a WHO-led team that spent four weeks in and around Wuhan, China, in January and February released its final report to the public.

China refused to give raw data on early COVID-19 cases to the WHO-led team, one of the team's investigators has already said, potentially complicating efforts to understand how the global pandemic began.

COVID-19 update | China refutes Antony Blinken's charge it helped to write WHO experts' report on coronavirus origin

"In my discussions with the team, they expressed the difficulties they encountered in accessing raw data," Tedros said. "I expect future collaborative studies to include more timely and comprehensive data sharing."

Close

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

View more
How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

View more
Show

The conclusions that the virus origins remains incomplete likely means that tensions over how the pandemic started – and whether China has helped or hinder efforts to find out, as the United States has alleged – will continue.

Although the team concluded a leak from a Wuhan-area laboratory was the least likely hypothesis for the virus that causes COVID-19, Tedros said, the matter requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions back to China.

"I do not believe that this assessment was extensive enough," Tedros said. "Further data and studies will be needed to reach more robust conclusions."

The WHO team's leader, Peter Ben Embarek, told a separate virtual press briefing on Tuesday that it was "perfectly possible" COVID-19 cases were circulating in November or October 2019 around Wuhan, potentially leading to the disease spreading abroad earlier than documented so far.

He said the team felt political pressure, including from outside China, but that he never was pressed to remove anything from its final report.
Reuters

stay updated

Get Daily News on your Browser
Sections