Hong Kong: Facing severe criticism from several countries for not sharing Covid data for years, China has urged the World Health Organisation (WHO) not to be subject to or willing to descend to become “a tool of politicisation” of certain countries, and “return to science and fairness”.
State-run Global Times reported that using twisted and incomplete pieces of evidence to slander China on the origins of Covid-19 “will only undermine the international body’s credibility and impair investigations on the virus”.
The WHO’s accusation came after researchers at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) published a new Covid analysis on samples collected at Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Market in the science journal Nature on April 5.
Prior to the analysis’ official publication, the related data was shared on the Global Initiative in Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID) database, but was allegedly deleted later, prompting widespread speculation.
An epidemiologist close to China’s Covid-origin tracing task group told the Global Times that the next stage of origins-tracing should concentrate on animals who are more prone to carry coronaviruses, such as bats.
Experts stated that no Covid antibodies were detected in the blood of donors in Wuhan prior to the outbreak in December 2019.
Zhou Lei, a researcher from China CDC, said at a news conference that as a Chinese scientist who took part in the China-WHO joint origins-tracing mission in 2021, she is surprised at WHO remarks.
“During the joint origins-tracing mission, Chinese scientists shared all data and information, including information of more than 76,000 early cases of possible and suspected COVID infections in Wuhan,” Zhou said.
“We conducted in-depth joint analysis and research, and the results were collectively approved by the WHO and Chinese experts at that time,” she was quoted as saying.
“I think if such a presumptuous accusation is made, it is the WHO’s credibility that risks being damaged,” she added.
The WHO slammed China last week, saying the country should have shared viral samples from Wuhan which was the epicentre of the pandemic, immediately, and not three years later.
Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for Covid-19 response at WHO, wrote in the prestigious journal Science that earlier this month, the global health agency learned that scientists in China possessed data on viral samples from Wuhan that had been gathered in January 2020.
“These should have been shared immediately, not 3 years later. The lack of data disclosure is simply inexcusable,” she said.
The WHO continues to call on China and all countries to share any data on the origins of SARS-CoV-2 immediately.
China made Covid-19 disease official on December 31, 2019.
Last month, US President Joe Biden signed a bill to declassify intelligence information on the origins of the Covid pandemic, which has so far claimed more than seven million lives globally.
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