WHO Terminates COVID-19 Origins Investigation

The World Health Organization (WHO) has abruptly suspended the second phase of its investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, citing challenges in getting information from Chinese sources. The follow-up research was intended to analyze evidence that could help understand how the virus first infected people. However, without access to China, it may be impossible to determine the virus’s origin. The WHO’s initial investigation conducted in Wuhan, China, in January 2021, released a report in March outlining four ways the pandemic may have originated. It found the most likely was from the virus spreading from bats to humans.

After the backlash and criticism of their original report, which seemed to have been crafted by the Chinese government, the WHO recommended a deeper probe into the possibility of a lab accident being the cause of the pandemic.

The WHO’s stance marks a sharp reversal of its initial assessment of the pandemic’s origins. The organization concluded last year that it was “extremely unlikely” COVID-19 may have spilled into humans in Wuhan from a lab.

While researchers are conducting continuing studies focused on the animal-origins hypothesis, it may be too late to gather some of the data needed to pinpoint the virus’s origin. Efforts include trapping bats in regions bordering China, experimental studies to determine which animals could carry the virus, and testing of previously acquired and stored wastewater and blood samples.

Meanwhile, House Republicans are beginning an independent governmental investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. They seek documents and testimony from current and former Biden administration officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, concerning the theory that the coronavirus leaked accidentally from a Chinese lab.

Rep. James Comer (R-KY), chair of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), chair of the Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, are seeking information to determine where and how the virus came about so that they can predict and prepare for, or prevent, a similar catastrophe from happening again.

There have been few substantial investigations into the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of them was run by Peter Daszak, who runs the nonprofit organization that acted as a direct conduit between Fauci and Chinese officials. Americans are now counting on House Republicans to carry through on promises to conduct an honest and thorough investigation.