A joint World Health Organization-China study on the origins of COVID-19 says transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is “extremely unlikely.”
The findings offer little new insight into how the virus first emerged. But the report does provide more details on the reasoning behind the researchers’ conclusions.
The team proposed further research in every area except the lab leak hypothesis – a speculative theory promoted by former U.S. President Trump. It also said the role played by a seafood market where human cases were first identified was uncertain.
The report is based largely on a visit by a WHO team of international experts to Wuhan. The mission was never meant to identify the exact source of the virus, an endeavor that typically takes years.
For instance, over 40 years of study has still failed to pinpoint the exact species of bat that are the natural reservoir of Ebola.