More than three years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan, China, the World Health Organization (WHO) has put an end to its plan for the second phase of a study into the virus’ origins. In January 2021, the WHO sent an international team of scientists and medical professionals to Wuhan to investigate the virus and release a report. This report raised questions over the hypothesis that the virus might have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), and was criticized for ignoring China’s failure to provide complete, original data and samples.
In response to these concerns, the WHO announced a plan in July 2021 for a more extensive second phase investigation. This investigation was intended to find and review data on relevant laboratories and research institutions in Wuhan, as well as data on wild animals sold at the city’s live animal markets in late 2019. However, this proposed probe never materialized. Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist at the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland, stated that the plan “has changed” and “there is no phase two.”
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime was irritated by the discussion of a lab escape as a possible scenario in the first phase report. This led to the CCP pushing back and claiming that the lab breach hypothesis shouldn’t even be talked about. This, in turn, caused the White House to call out Beijing for its “dangerous” and “irresponsible” behavior.
Despite the tension between China and the United States, the WHO was still attempting to “directly engage” with Chinese officials and trying to establish collaborations with Chinese scientists. This comes as Jeremy Farrar, a British pharmaceutical trust director involved in producing a paper arguing against the lab breach hypothesis, is set to take the helm of WHO’s science division. Emails obtained by independent journalist James Tobias via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit revealed that Farrar had been working on a draft of the paper with Dr. Anthony Fauci in January 2020. The paper in question was published in Nature Medicine in March 2020 and has since been widely cited by government officials and mainstream media outlets as the scientific basis for dismissing the possibility that COVID-19 might have come out of a lab.
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