Latest Video

Battle between US, China, WHO over COVID origins research intensifies

By

World Health Organization scientists in China said Wednesday their investigation into the COVID-19 origins has stalled, and they’re running out of time to come to a conclusion.

The news should only escalate the ongoing feud between the WHO, China and the United States over the origins of the virus. The video above includes the clips from news conferences in Geneva, China, and the U.S.

“The window of opportunity for conducting this crucial inquiry is closing fast: any delay will render some of the studies biologically impossible,” the scientists said.

Back in March, they published an analysis saying the virus probably jumped to humans from animals. At that point, they described the possibility of a laboratory leak as “extremely unlikely.” However, the scientists said their report was intended only as a first step.

In a commentary published in the journal Nature, they noted among other things that Chinese officials are still reluctant to share some raw data, citing concerns over patient confidentiality.

“We’ve heard statements from our Chinese colleagues that there are studies that are underway in China,” WHO COVID-19 Technical Lead Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said at the WHO news conference. “We would have to ask them specifically what those studies are. And we look forward to the results of those, as has been outlined in the international report.”

Meanwhile in Beijing, a Foreign Ministry director general took aim at both the WHO and the U.S.

“We will continue to cooperate with international organizations like WHO in their research and in their search for the origin, but we do not accept baseless and unfounded accusations that are politically motivated,” Director General Fu Cong said. “If they want to baselessly accuse China, so they’d better be prepared to accept the counter-attack from China.”

As for the U.S., Cong said “Their purpose is not really to go to the bottom of the origin. Their purpose is to shift the blame onto China, and that is a game we are not prepared to play. It’s a pity that this scientific study has been slowed, but it is not the fault of China.”

Cong’s comments come ahead of the expected release of a U.S. intelligence report on the origins. On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden received a briefing Tuesday on the report.

“The intelligence community has been simultaneously working on an unclassified version of summary, a summary version to provide publicly,” Psaki said. “I don’t have a timeline for you on when that will be provided, but they’ve been working expeditiously to prepare that.”

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO COVID-19 Technical Lead: “And in fact, there is no delay in how those studies can be conducted in China because there are many, many capable scientists there that can carry those out without delay. So we are also in agreement about the urgency to continue those studies.”

“In fact, we have heard from Chinese colleagues that studies are underway from some public statements that they have made recently. So, again, we want the origins work to remain scientific, transparent, urgent and inclusive.”

“We’ve heard statements from our Chinese colleagues that there are studies that are underway in China. We would have to ask them specifically what those studies are. And we look forward to the results of those, as has been outlined in the international report. These include studies of looking at serology, looking at sera that is stored from 2019, looking at tracing back of animals that are there. I don’t have the specifics on these exact studies. We very much look forward to what those studies are.”

Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO emergencies chief: “(Inaudible) perspective of our Chinese counterparts, it is a contradiction, if you’re saying that the lab hypothesis is a nonstarter from a Chinese perspective. But we need to now go and look at labs in other countries. I find that difficult to understand, but very willing to engage with our Chinese colleagues to understand what exactly they mean by that statement.”

Fu Cong, Director General at the Department of Arms Control, Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “We will continue to cooperate with international organizations like WHO in their research and in their search for the origin, but we do not accept baseless and unfounded accusations that are politically motivated. If they want to baselessly accuse China, so they’d better be prepared to accept the counter-attack from China.”

“It’s not like that the Chinese Wuhan institute of virology has not been visited. Already twice, it has received the WHO visit. So it is only fair that if the U.S. insists that this is a valid hypothesis, they should do their turn and invite investigations into their labs.”

“If Dr. Tedros believes that we should not rule out the hypothesis of a lab leak, well, he knows where to go. He needs to go to the U.S. labs because that is only fair.”

“And we all know that the U.S. is playing a political game here. Their purpose is not really to go to the bottom of the origin. Their purpose is to shift the blame onto China, and that is a game we are not prepared to play. It’s a pity that this scientific study has been slowed, but it is not the fault of China.”

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary: “He received a briefing yesterday on the 90 day origins report. It was a classified briefing so, of course, that’s not information we would provide publicly because of the prioritization we’ve given to this and the importance of this information for the public. The intelligence community has been simultaneously working on an unclassified version of summary, a summary version to provide publicly. I don’t have a timeline for you on when that will be provided, but they’ve been working expeditiously to prepare that. And we have also been doing classified briefings. But until that unclassified version is available, I won’t be able to provide any more details of the assessment.”

Reporter: “What is President Biden prepared to do to push the Chinese on the Wuhan lab investigation? There’s been reporting that the Chinese are not being cooperative. They’re pushing back at the U.S. on that. What is he prepared to do to create more information on that?”

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary: “Well, I think it’s well known they haven’t been cooperative, right, through your reporting, other reporting and just the fact that they obviously have not in a, in a publicly available way, provided the data and the information that we have been requesting. In terms of an assessment of what steps we might take. I don’t have anything to preview for you on that front.”

Reporter: “But is there any scenario where President Biden would be satisfied with an inconclusive result about the origin of the pandemic that killed so many Americans?”

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary: “I can assure you the president wants to get to the bottom of the root causes of COVID-19 that has, as you noted, has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and wishes that there had been more done earlier on to get to the bottom of it and to, of course, save more lives.”

Comments are still pending approval. Rate this story to add your own thoughts below.

Comments are still pending approval. Rate this story to add your own thoughts below.

Comments are still pending approval. Rate this story to add your own thoughts below.

Comments are still pending approval. Rate this story to add your own thoughts below.

Get ready to rate in…

lock

Watch the video to unlock rating

Your Rating

Rating closes in 4 days

Total User Rating

eye icon

Rate to reveal

Community ratings are revealed after you rate the story.

comment bubbles

World Health Organization scientists in China said Wednesday their investigation into the COVID-19 origins has stalled, and they’re running out of time to come to a conclusion.

The news should only escalate the ongoing feud between the WHO, China and the United States over the origins of the virus. The video above includes the clips from news conferences in Geneva, China, and the U.S.

“The window of opportunity for conducting this crucial inquiry is closing fast: any delay will render some of the studies biologically impossible,” the scientists said.

Back in March, they published an analysis saying the virus probably jumped to humans from animals. At that point, they described the possibility of a laboratory leak as “extremely unlikely.” However, the scientists said their report was intended only as a first step.

In a commentary published in the journal Nature, they noted among other things that Chinese officials are still reluctant to share some raw data, citing concerns over patient confidentiality.

“We’ve heard statements from our Chinese colleagues that there are studies that are underway in China,” WHO COVID-19 Technical Lead Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said at the WHO news conference. “We would have to ask them specifically what those studies are. And we look forward to the results of those, as has been outlined in the international report.”

Meanwhile in Beijing, a Foreign Ministry director general took aim at both the WHO and the U.S.

“We will continue to cooperate with international organizations like WHO in their research and in their search for the origin, but we do not accept baseless and unfounded accusations that are politically motivated,” Director General Fu Cong said. “If they want to baselessly accuse China, so they’d better be prepared to accept the counter-attack from China.”

As for the U.S., Cong said “Their purpose is not really to go to the bottom of the origin. Their purpose is to shift the blame onto China, and that is a game we are not prepared to play. It’s a pity that this scientific study has been slowed, but it is not the fault of China.”

Cong’s comments come ahead of the expected release of a U.S. intelligence report on the origins. On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden received a briefing Tuesday on the report.

“The intelligence community has been simultaneously working on an unclassified version of summary, a summary version to provide publicly,” Psaki said. “I don’t have a timeline for you on when that will be provided, but they’ve been working expeditiously to prepare that.”

Get ready to rate in…

Community Rating

Community ratings are revealed after you rate the story.

lock

Watch the video to unlock rating

Rate the bias

Keep us honest! Let us know if you thought this video was neutral or biased.

Comments are still pending approval. Rate this story to add your own thoughts below.