//WHO, Viral origins full report

WHO, Viral origins full report

WHO’s Covid report


The mission

Joint international team, 17 Chinese and 17 international experts

14 January to 10 February 2021 in Wuhan

Prevent reinfection, animals and humans

Prevent establishment of new zoonotic reservoirs, mink, cats


Outbreak may have started sometime in the months before the middle of December 2019

(Based on molecular sequence data)

Circulation of SARS-CoV-2 preceded the initial detection of cases by several weeks.

Virus transmission widespread in Wuhan by the first week of 2020

Epidemic in Wuhan preceded the spread in the rest of Hubei Province

174 COVID-19 cases with onset of symptoms in December 2019

8th December 2019, first official case

76,000 ‘cases’ from October and November unlikely


Huanan market, at the point of its closing, 923 environmental samples, 73 samples were positive

Widespread contamination of surfaces with SARS-CoV-2

Huanan market cluster had identical virus genomes

Other genomes were also discovered from December / January

Upstream suppliers to the Huanan market taken during 2020, no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in animals

Initial cases associated with Huanan market, other markets and no markets

Coronaviruses most highly related to SARS-CoV-2 found in bats and pangolins

None sufficiently similar to SARS-CoV-2 to serve as its direct progenitor

Sampling before and after the outbreak

80 000 wildlife, livestock and poultry samples collected, 31 provinces in China

No positive result for SARS-CoV-2 antibody or nucleic acid

Cold chains

Cold chain products, not tested at the time

Confirmed international transmission in cold chains

Four conclusions

Qualitative risk assessment

Direct zoonotic spillover is considered to be a possible-to-likely pathway

Introduction through an intermediate host is considered to be a likely to very likely pathway

Introduction through cold/ food chain products is considered a possible pathway

Introduction through a laboratory incident was considered to be an extremely unlikely pathway

Next phase

Widespread testing of domestic and wild animals

Rhinolophus bats, southern provinces of China, countries around East Asia, South-East Asia and any other regions

More cold chain analysis

Positive results in sewage, serum, human or animal tissues/swab and other SARS-CoV-2 test by the end of 2019

Convene a global expert group



US, UK, Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Statement

It is equally essential that we voice our shared concerns

that the international expert study on the source of the Sars-Cov-2 virus was significantly delayed

and lacked access to complete, original data and samples

While regretting the late start of the study, the delayed deployment of the experts and the limited availability of early samples and related data,

we consider the work carried out to date and the report released today as a helpful first step

EU statement also called on all relevant authorities to help with the next stages

So that any gaps in data needed to further the investigation can be addressed

Called for timely access for independent experts early in future pandemics

Access to China after months of fraught negotiations

White House
No space for this section in YT comments, descriptions are of limited length.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

In my discussions with the team, they expressed the difficulties they encountered in accessing raw data

I expect future collaborative studies to include more timely and comprehensive data sharing

Scientists would benefit from full access to data including biological samples from at least September 2019

I concur with the team’s conclusion that farmers, suppliers and their contacts will need to be interviewed

Team also visited several laboratories in Wuhan and considered the possibility that the virus entered the human population as a result of a laboratory incident.

However, I do not believe that this assessment was extensive enough.

Further data and studies will be needed to reach more robust conclusions.

Let me say clearly that as far as WHO is concerned all hypotheses remain on the table.

Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy

This report is a very important beginning, but it is not the end.

We have not yet found the source of the virus, and we must continue to follow the science and leave no stone unturned as we do.