March 18 (Reuters) – Globe Well being Organization advisers on Saturday referred to as on China to release all data connected to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic following new findings had been briefly shared in an international database utilized to track the pathogen.

New sequences of the SARS-CoV-two virus, as properly as more genomic information primarily based on samples taken from a reside animal marketplace in Wuhan, China in 2020, had been briefly uploaded by Chinese scientists to the GISAID database earlier this year, permitting them to be reviewed by researchers from other nations, according to the announcement of the WHO Scientific Advisory Group on the Origin of New Pathogens (SAGO).

The sequences recommend that raccoon dogs had been present in the marketplace and may well also have been infected with the coronavirus, giving a new clue in the chain of transmission that ultimately reached humans.

China’s Centers for Illness Manage and Prevention (CDC) later restricted access to the data “apparently to permit for additional information updates.”

WHO officials discussed the matter with their Chinese counterparts, who explained that the new information had been intended to be utilized to update the preprint study from 2022. The Chinese CDC plans to resubmit the paper to the scientific journal Nature for publication, the statement mentioned.

WHO officials say such data, whilst not definitive, represents a new clue in the investigation into the origins of COVID and ought to have been shared right away.

“These information do not supply a definitive answer to the query of how the pandemic began, but each and every piece of data is essential to bring us closer to that answer,” WHO Director-Common Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned on Friday. “This information could – and ought to – have been shared 3 years ago.

“We continue to get in touch with on China to be transparent in sharing information and to conduct the essential investigations and share the benefits,” he mentioned.

WHO tasked SAGO with continuing to investigate the origins of the pandemic that killed almost 7 million folks worldwide.

Chinese authorities shut down the Huanan seafood wholesale marketplace in Wuhan following the new coronavirus emerged in the city in late 2019. The marketplace has considering the fact that been the concentrate of a study to see if the virus infected numerous other species prior to jumping to humans.

The WHO and other scientists also mentioned they could not rule out the possibility that the virus emerged from a higher-safety laboratory in Wuhan that research harmful pathogens. China denies any such connection.

The 2022 preprint paper mentioned a compact fraction of 923 samples collected from stalls and sewage systems in and about the marketplace tested good for the virus no virus was detected in 457 animal samples tested. The paper initially mentioned raccoon dogs had been not amongst the animals tested.

The new evaluation suggests “that the raccoon dog and other animals may well have been present prior to the marketplace was cleaned as aspect of a public wellness intervention,” SAGO mentioned in a statement.

Reporting by Sneha Bhowmik in Bengaluru and Jennifer Rigby in London Writing by Michele Gershberg Editing by Nick Zieminski

Our Requirements: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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