Correspondent in Geneva
The investigation into the origin of Covid-19 continues. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced this Wednesday proposed members for the WHO Scientific Advisory Group on the Origins of New Pathogens (SAGO), which will advise the United Nations international health body on studies on the emergence of emerging and re-emerging pathogens with epidemic potential and pandemic, including SARS-CoV-2. China, for his part, will analyze 200,000 blood samples taken in the months before the virus appeared to look for traces of it, CNN reported, although access to the data will not be public.
Specifically, according to the aforementioned medium, the samples stored in Wuhan blood banks as part of the investigation into the origins of the virus. WHO experts already pointed out last February that these data could be used for research.
“The emergence of new viruses with the potential to cause epidemics and pandemics is a fact of nature, and SARS-CoV-2 will not be the last. Understanding where new pathogens come from is essential to prevent future outbreaks with epidemic and pandemic potential, and requires a wide range of knowledge, ”commented WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Selected from more than 700 applications, The 26 members proposed to SAGO have expertise in a number of areas, including epidemiology, animal health, ecology, clinical medicine, virology, genomics, molecular epidemiology, molecular biology, biology, food safety, biosafety, and public health.
There are no Spaniards
There are no Spaniards in the group of scientists and only five European experts with British, French, Dutch, Swiss and Danish nationality. The WHO explained that, when making the selection, diversity criteria were taken into account, among countries, the scientific background of the candidates and their gender. Scientists come from very diverse countries on all continents. China will be represented by Dr. Yungui Yang, a renowned researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. There is also an American expert on the list, Inger Damon, MD, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tedros assured this Wednesday that “he was satisfied with the caliber of the proposed experts who, according to the internal procedure of the organization, will have to wait two weeks to be confirmed in their posts.” After this period, the experts will begin their advisory work on new emerging pathogens.
The experts will have the mission of develop a global research framework on the origin and emergence of new pathogens with pandemic potential. They will also advise WHO officials, independently, on the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic by coordinating and participating in future missions of the organization.
The former head of the WHO group of scientists, Peter Ben Embarek, left his post, hastily, after statements made to Danish television TV2 last August, in which he stated that Covid-19 could have started after a researcher at the Chinese laboratory in Wuhan was infected with a bat.