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Same Picture of Viral Origins

The World Health Organization team leading an investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 says bats remain its likely source, Reuters reports.

"All the work that has been done on the virus and trying to identify its origin continue to point toward a natural reservoir," Peter Ben Embarek, who is leading the team, said during a briefing according to the New York Times.

The WHO team arrived last month in Wuhan, China, where the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak was first identified, to search for the source of the virus. According to Reuters, the investigators' inquiry thus far has uncovered some new details, but that the picture of how the virus emerged has not changed. 

The Guardian says the WHO team has examined a number of theories regarding viral origins, including direct zoonotic transmission from animal to person and indirect transmission. It adds that the investigators have dismissed the theory that the virus originated from a nearby virology institute as "extremely unlikely." The Guardian further says that the team found no evidence of widespread circulation of the virus in Wuhan prior to December 2019.

The Times notes that the WHO team is conducting its investigation in a "charged political environment."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.