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If Not WHO Then Who?

Experts question whether the World Health Organization should lead any investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the Associated Press reports. Instead, it says, some suggest that an independent analysis like the investigation following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster should be conducted.

The WHO has already embarked on an investigation into the early days of the pandemic and found that SARS-CoV-2 was most likely transmitted to people from bats via another animal. Critics – including 14 countries in a joint statement – have raised concerns that the WHO investigators did not have full access to needed data and that China had too much sway over the process.

According to the AP, the next stage of the WHO investigation is still under development and Michael Ryan, the executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Program, notes that the international health agency works by "persuasion" and cannot force China to cooperate. That, critics tell the AP, is why a WHO investigation will not be fruitful. "For a year and a half, they have been stonewalled by China, and it's very clear they won't get to the bottom of it," Georgetown University's Lawrence Gostin tells it.

Instead, the AP reports there are calls to develop a different investigation through the Group of Seven industrialized nations.

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