Asked to respond to the letter, Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman for the W.H.O., replied in an email that the team of experts that had gone to China “is working on its full report as well as an accompanying summary report, which we understand will be issued simultaneously in a couple of weeks.”
The open letter noted that the W.H.O.’s study was a joint effort by a team of outside experts, selected by the global health organization, who worked along with Chinese scientists, and that the team’s report must be agreed on by all. The letter emphasized that the team was denied access to some records and did not investigate laboratories in China.
Findings by the team, the letter stated, “while potentially useful to a limited extent, represent neither the official position of the W.H.O. nor the result of an unrestricted, independent investigation.”
Without naming him, the letter criticized Peter Daszak, an expert in animal diseases and their connection to human health, who is the head of EcoHealth International. The letter linked to articles about Dr. Daszak and said he had previously stated his conviction that a natural origin of the virus was most likely.
Dr. Daszak said the letter’s push to investigate a lab origin for the virus was a position “supported by political agendas.”
“I strongly urge the global community to wait for the publication of the report from the W. H.O. mission,” he added.
Filippa Lentzos, a senior lecturer in science and international security, at King’s College London, and one of the signers of the letter, said, “I think in order to get a credible investigation, it has to be more of a global effort in the sense that it should be taken to the U.N. General Assembly where all the nations of the world are represented and can vote on whether or not to give a mandate to the U.N. secretary general, to carry out this kind of investigation.”
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