WUHAN (CHINA) – The WHO-led team of experts wrapped up a visit on Wednesday to a major virus research laboratory in China’s central city of Wuhan, in an attempt to find clues to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wuhan Institute of Virology, has been at the centre of some conspiracy theories that claim a laboratory leak caused the city’s first coronavirus outbreak at the end of 2019. The experts spent about 3-1/2 hours at the heavily-guarded lab.
Most scientists reject the hypothesis, but some speculate that a virus captured from the wild could have figured in lab experiments to test the risks of a human spillover and then escaped via an infected staff member.
“Very interesting. Many questions,” Thea Fischer, a Danish member of the team, called from her car as it sped away, in response to a question whether the team had found anything.
“I am looking forward to a very productive day, meeting the key people here and asking all the important questions that need to be asked,” team member Peter Daszak, who is the president of the EcoHealth Alliance, said from his car as it arrived earlier.
The team will spend two weeks in field work after having completed two weeks in hotel quarantine after arrival in Wuhan.