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WHO launches new expert group on what could be the ‘last chance’ to find COVID origin

Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) has formed an expert group that will investigate the origin of new pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. WHO Director – General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the announcement at a press conference in Geneva, “following a public call for experts.”Read also – WHO chief thanks India for resuming exports of COVID -19 vaccines to COVAX

The proposed members of the WHO Scientific Advisory Group on the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) were selected because of their expertise in areas such as epidemiology, animal health, clinical medicine, virology and genomics. Read also – China forced COVID -19 Origins Probe to drop laboratory leak theory: WHO

The 26 experts were selected from over 700 applications and were selected for their world-class expertise and experience in a range of disciplines as well as their geographical and gender diversity. Also read – BTS’s permission to dance: WHO chief Tedros Adhanom praises K -pop septet for using sign language

“SAGO will advise the WHO on the development of a global framework to define and guide studies of the origin of new and emerging pathogens with epidemic and pandemic potential, including SARS-CoV-2,” the WHO chief said.

“The emergence of new viruses with the potential to trigger epidemics and pandemics is a fact of nature, and although SARS-CoV-2 is the latest such virus, it will not be the last.”

There will be a two-week public consultation period where the WHO can receive feedback on the proposed SAGO members.

Mike Ryan, WHO’s biggest emergency expert, said the new panel could be the last chance to determine the origin of SARS-CoV-2, “a virus that has stopped our entire world”.

The WHO sought to “take a step back, create an environment where we can once again look at the scientific issues,” he said. “This is our best chance, and it may be our last chance to understand the origin of this virus.”
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical director at COVID-19, said the world needs to be better prepared for any future “disease X”.

In response to a question, she stated that SAGO would recommend further studies in China and possibly elsewhere to understand the origin of the new coronavirus, UN News reported.

While SAGO will advise the WHO, any future missions will be organized by the UN agency and the country concerned. “I want to make it very clear that SAGO is not the next mission team. There has been some deception about it in the future, ”she said.

A WHO-led team of researchers who traveled to China in early 2021 to investigate the origin of the virus struggled to get a clear picture of what research China was doing in advance, faced limitations during its visit and had little power to conduct thorough and impartial research.

(With input from ANI)

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