WHO panel to recommend deeper study of early Covid clues | Daily News

WHO panel to recommend deeper study of early Covid clues

The World Health Organization's preliminary report into the origins of the novel coronavirus will recommend more extensive contact tracing of the first known patient with Covid-19 in Wuhan, China, as well as the supply chain of nearly a dozen traders in the Huanan seafood market, which is thought to have played a role in the early spread of Covid-19 in late 2019, according to investigators familiar with the draft report.

Independent scientists told CNN the rudimentary investigative work being recommended should have been done many months previously by Chinese scientists looking into the virus' origin. They said they found it "surprising" and "implausible" Chinese scientists had not already done that work.

The panel's recommendations will pursue, among others, two key lines of inquiry, the investigators familiar with the draft report told CNN.

First, they will request further work on the contact history of the December 8, 2019, patient in Wuhan, the first case confirmed by Chinese scientists and the WHO panel as having Covid-19. The patient has not been identified publicly, but is, according to the WHO investigators, an office worker in his forties with no exotic travel or contact history, who lived with his wife and child. Peter Daszak, a member of the 17-person WHO team and president of EcoHealth Alliance, which tracks viruses in animals, said the investigation had established the first known patient's parents had likely visited a market selling wildlife in Wuhan.

The patient met the WHO team, Daszak said, and at the end of the meeting added that his parents had visited "a local community wet market in Wuhan", which was not the Huanan seafood market.

Daszak said the WHO panel were not told the details of the market during their visit, and it was possible it sold animals or produce that could have been infected with the novel coronavirus.

"Then he said at the end of the interview -- and it was all being translated and the translator, specifically said -- 'My parents visited a local community wet market,'" Daszak said of the meeting.

"Now, to use the term 'wet market,' especially under this political constraint we were under, tells me something very significant: that the other markets in Wuhan -- not [only] Huanan market, other markets -- sold wildlife products," Daszak said.