The World Health Organization is sending an animal health expert and an epidemiologist to China to research the animal origins of SARS-CoV-2, the Associated Press reports. The WHO adds that its experts will be working with their Chinese counterparts.
During a briefing WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said one aspect they will "look at [is] whether or not it jumped from species to human, and what species it jumped from," according to the AP.
Genomic analyses studies have indicated that SARS-CoV-2 is similar to a bat coronavirus, but also appears to have some similarity with coronaviruses found in pangolins at key genomic regions, though it is unclear how the virus may have then made its way to infect people.
"Identifying the origin of emerging viral disease has proven complex in past epidemics in different countries," the WHO says in a statement. "A well-planned series of scientific researches will advance the understanding of animal reservoirs and the route of transmission to humans." It notes the "process is an evolving endeavor."