World Health Organization advisers on Saturday urged China to release all information related to the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic after new findings were briefly shared on an international database used to track pathogens.
New sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as well as additional genomic data based on samples collected from a live animal market in Wuhan, China, in 2020, were briefly uploaded to the GISAID database by Chinese scientists earlier this year , allowing that they could be viewed by researchers from other countries, in line with the statement of the WHO Scientific Advisory Group on the Origin of New Pathogens (SAGO).
The sequences suggested that raccoon dogs were on the market and may also have been infected with the coronavirus, providing a new clue in the chain of transmission that eventually reached humans.
Access to the information was later restricted “apparently to allow for further data updates” by the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
WHO officials discussed the matter with Chinese colleagues, who explained that the new data should be used to update a preprint study from 2022. China’s CDC plans to resubmit the article to the journal Nature for publication. , according to the statement. .
WHO officials say this information, while not conclusive, represents a new avenue for investigating the origins of COVID and should have been shared immediately.
“These data do not provide a definitive answer to the question of how the pandemic started, but all data are important in moving us closer to that answer,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.
“This data could have – and should have – been shared three years ago.”