WORLD NEWS

WHO Team Visits Wuhan Research Lab At Center Of Speculation

Feb 2, 2021, 8:56 PM
An aerial view of the city sunset on January 28, 2021 in Wuhan, China. In order to curb the spread ...
An aerial view of the city sunset on January 28, 2021 in Wuhan, China. In order to curb the spread of the new crown pneumonia COVID-19 disease, the Chinese government closed the city of Wuhan for 76 days starting January 23, 2020. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

WUHAN, China (AP) — World Health Organization investigators on Wednesday visited a research center in the Chinese city of Wuhan that has been the subject of speculation about the origins of the coronavirus.

The WHO team’s visit to the Wuhan Institute of Virology is a highlight of their mission to gather data and search for clues as to where the virus originated and how it spread.

One of China’s top virus research labs, the institute built an archive of genetic information about bat coronaviruses after the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. That has led to unproven allegations that it may have a link to the original outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan in late 2019.

China has strongly denied that possibility and has promoted theories that the virus may have originated elsewhere or even been brought into the country from overseas with imports of frozen seafood tainted with the virus, a notion roundly rejected by international scientists and agencies.

The institute’s deputy director is Shi Zhengli, a virologist who worked with Peter Daszak, a zoologist on the WHO team mission, to track down the origins of SARS that originated in China and led to the 2003 outbreak. She has published widely in academic journalists and worked to debunk theories espoused by the former Trump administration and other American officials that the virus is either a bioweapon or a “lab leak” from the institute.

Following two weeks in quarantine, the WHO team that includes experts from 10 nations has visited hospitals, research institutes and a traditional wet market linked to many of the first cases. Their visit followed months of negotiations as China seeks to retain tight control over information about the outbreak and the investigation into its origins, possibly to avoid blame for alleged missteps in its early response.

Confirmation of the origins of the virus is likely to take years. Pinning down an outbreak’s animal reservoir typically requires exhaustive research including taking animal samples, genetic analysis and epidemiological studies. One possibility is that a wildlife poacher might have passed the virus to traders who carried it to Wuhan.

The first clusters of COVID-19 were detected in Wuhan in late 2019, prompting the government to put the city of 11 million under a strict 76-day lockdown. China has since reported more than 89,000 cases and 4,600 deaths, with new cases largely concentrated in its frigid northeast and local lockdowns and travel restrictions being imposed to contain the outbreaks.

New cases of local transmission continue to fall with just 15 reported on Wednesday as Chinese heed government calls not to travel for the Lunar New Year holiday later this month.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

MIAMI, FLORIDA - AUGUST 15: A registered nurse prepares to administer an intradermal monkeypox vacc...
CNN

First possible case of human-to-dog monkeypox transmission reported

The first possible case of human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox -- recently reported in two men and their pet in Paris -- had been a theoretical risk up till now, said Dr. Rosamund Lewis, technical lead on the monkeypox response for the World Health Organization.
14 hours ago
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 01: A BMW logo is displayed at a BMW showroom in Manhattan on August 01...
Associated Press

Germany: 1 dead, 9 injured after test car veers into traffic

Police in Germany says one person has died and nine were seriously injured after a test car with autonomous steering capability veered into oncoming traffic.
14 hours ago
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07:  Darius Campbell performing at Breast Cancer Care's London fashion sh...
Associated Press

‘Pop Idol’ and stage star Darius Campbell Danesh dies at 41

British singer and performer Darius Campbell Danesh died at age 41. His family said Tuesday that he was found unresponsive in his apartment in Rochester, Minnesota, on Aug. 11 and pronounced dead.
14 hours ago
The lower reaches of the Whanganui River flow near the Kaiwhaiki settlement in New Zealand on June ...
NICK PERRY Associated Press

New Zealand river’s personhood status offers hope to Māori, against river’s degradation

WHANGANUI, New Zealand (AP) — The Whanganui River is surging into the ocean, fattened from days of winter rain and yellowed from the earth and clay that has collapsed into its sides. Logs and debris hurtle past as dusk looms. Sixty-one-year-old Tahi Nepia is calmly paddling his outrigger canoe, called a waka ama in his […]
2 days ago
Brittney Griner is pictured here leaving a Russian court after apologizing ahead of a verdict in he...
JIM HEINTZ, Associated Press

WNBA’s Brittney Griner appeals her Russian prison sentence

Russian news agencies reported that lawyers for American basketball star Brittney Griner have filed an appeal of her nine-year Russian prison sentence for drug possession.
2 days ago
Freya rests on a boat in Frognerkilen, Oslo Fjord, Norway, in July 19. (Tor Erik Schrøder/NTB/AFP/...
Zoe Sottile, CNN

Norway euthanizes beloved 1,300-pound walrus named Freya

The Norwegian government euthanized its celebrity walrus Freya on early Sunday morning, after warning the public to stay away from her.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
WHO Team Visits Wuhan Research Lab At Center Of Speculation