WHO Launches New Group to Find COVID-19 Origins

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Oct. 13 a new group that may be the “last chance” to identify the origins of COVID-19.

During a press briefing, WHO announced nominations to the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins on Novel Pathogens (SAGO) tasked in finding the COVID-19 origins.

The 26 nominations were selected from over 700 applications of world-class experts in a range of disciplines, including six who were part of the previous team that visited China to investigate the COVID-19 origins.

The team will consider if COVID-19 came from animals and jumped to humans or were leaked in a lab accident in the city of Wuhan in China.

The previous WHO team said that COVID-19 had probably came from bats, but said that more work was needed. They also said that the lab leak theory — which China strongly refuses — was “extremely unlikely.”

WHO Emergencies Director Michael Ryan said that SAGO may be the “last chance to understand the origins of this virus.”

SAGO will also be tasked to investigate emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential to prepare for future outbreaks.

“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.

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