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WHO calls for more experts to study Covid-19's disputed origins

GENEVA (BLOOMBERG) – The World Health Organisation (WHO) reopened a search for experts to join a committee to study Covid-19’s origins to add more specialists in areas such as biosecurity.

Applicants have until Wednesday (Nov 3) to express interest, and the WHO said Monday it’s looking for experts in social science, anthropology, ethics, political science and biosafety.

In October, the WHO proposed a fresh team of 26 experts to lead an investigation into the origins of Covid-19 and other diseases after an earlier effort was beset by controversy. The list was subject to a two-week public consultation process.

The agency is still reviewing comments from the consultation and is seeking more diversity in the areas the members focus on, a spokesman said by e-mail.

A joint WHO-China mission early this year found that the coronavirus probably spread from bats to humans via another animal.

Although the team considered a lab-leak incident the least likely hypothesis, the head of the WHO called for further research.

US President Joe Biden has criticised China for stonewalling efforts to understand the genesis of Sars-CoV-2, while China has accused the US and its allies of blaming it for a pandemic that has killed more than 5 million people globally.

A declassified US report that was released last week concluded that Covid was probably not a biological weapon, and many US analysts believe it wasn’t genetically engineered at all.

A final conclusion on the virus’s origins is impossible without cooperation from China, according to the report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

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