A new joint study by WHO-China on the origins of COVID-19 has stated that the imparting of the coronavirus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is extremely unlikely.
The report is based on a field visit by a team of World Health Organisation (WHO) international experts to Wuhan, the Chinese city where COVID-19 was first detected, from mid-January to mid-February in the year 2020.
The study was important for discovery of the origins of the virus that could help scientists prevent future pandemics. The researchers proposed further research in every area except the lab leak hypothesis.
During the study it is found that the closest relative of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been found in bats, which are known to carry coronaviruses. The report stated “the evolutionary distance between these bat viruses and SARS-CoV-2 is estimated to be several decades, suggesting a missing link.”
It is also said that a highly similar viruses have been found in pangolins, but also noted that mink and cats are susceptible to the COVID virus, which suggests they could be carriers.
The report said that the cold chain can be a driver of long-distance virus spread but was skeptical that it could have leaded the outbreak. The report says the risk is lower than through human-to-human respiratory infection.