This story has been updated to include a statement from China expert Gordon Chang.
A World Health Organization (WHO) team has dropped an investigation into the Wuhan Institute of Virology, an alleged source of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WHO team held a press conference Tuesday to discuss their findings and explained coronavirus likely spread from an animal to humans outside of Wuhan.
WHO food safety and animal diseases expert Dr. Peter Ben Embarek, told reporters that it was “extremely unlikely” that the virus emerged as the result of a lab-related incident.
“Our initial findings suggest that the introduction through an intermediary host species is the most likely pathway and one that will require more studies and more specific, targeted research,” Embarek said.
“However, the findings suggest that the laboratory incidents hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus to the human population,” Embarek continued. “Therefore it is not a hypothesis that we advise to suggest future studies … into the understanding of the origin of the virus.”
China expert Gordon Chang said that it’s not surprising that the WHO team came to these conclusions, in a comment to this reporter.
“How can the World Health Organization mission make any determination of the source of COVID-19 after spending three-and-a-half hours at the Wuhan Institute of Virology?,” Chang asked.
“The team seems to be in a rush to make judgments—judgments that support China’s absurd theories—about source,” he continued. “We should not be surprised. Initially, the scientific community attacked the lab-leak theory, and some did so for purely political reasons.”
“It is hideous that the United States is rejoining the World Health Organization, which is determined to support Chinese theories, despite what the evidence indicates.”
Fox News host Steve Hilton revealed evidence earlier this month regarding the possible origin of the pandemic, leading to allegations that the Wuhan Institute of Virology may have caused the original outbreak by leaking the virus into the surrounding community.
China rejected the allegations brought forth and offered other theories for the virus’s origins.
The WHO team visited Wuhan on Jan. 14, and after two weeks of quarantine, visited key sites such as the Huanan seafood market, which was linked to an early cluster of infections, as well as the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has been involved in coronavirus research.
A member of the WHO team told The Associated Press last week that they were granted full access to all sites and personnel they requested.
Peter Daszak, a zoologist that specializes in wildlife diseases, said the team investigated issues including what the first cases were, the link with animals and what role that imports of frozen food may have played — a theory that China has backed.
Hilton exposed evidence earlier this month that linked Daszak to a 2014 research project to assess the risk of new coronavirus emerging from wild animals, like bats.
One of the main goals of the research project was to see what viruses can affect both animals and humans.
Daszak then sub-contracted the project to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology then began to genetically engineer new viruses from the feces of bats and infected human cells with the virus.
“Peter Daszak, a leading American-based scientist who worked with the institute and who is a member of the WHO mission, last month admitted he was trying to protect Chinese colleagues when he organized a campaign in early 2020 to show that COVID-19 did not start in the lab. Deadly viruses have escaped from Chinese laboratories with distressing regularity. There was, for instance, a leak of the SARS virus in 2004 from a Chinese facility,” Chang said.
Chang said there is only one way to reveal the origin of the coronavirus.
“There is one way to get to the bottom of the issue of source. The U.S. can release intelligence it has.”
Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy
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VIDEO: Chinese military plane comes ‘dangerously’ close to U.S. aircraft over South China Sea
The United States Army recorded and released unnerving video of a close encounter with a Chinese jet over the South China Sea. The Chinese military plane came “dangerously” close to the U.S. military aircraft in the international airspace last week, the U.S. military announced on Thursday.
US, Chinese jets in close encounter over South China Sea pic.twitter.com/X8fbV84neF
— PressTV Extra (@PresstvExtra) December 29, 2022
The Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), the command responsible for overseeing U.S. operations in the area, said in a statement that the encounter occurred on December 21, during which a Chinese Navy J-11 fighter jet flew within 10 feet (3 meters) of a U.S. Air Force RC-135, a reconnaissance plane with about 30 people on board.
According to a U.S. military spokesperson, the Chinese jet came within 10 feet of the airplane’s wing, but 20 feet from its nose, causing the U.S. aircraft to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision.
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