Top Dutch virologist accuses WHO leader of undermining Covid origins research

AMSTERDAM - Tedros Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization (WHO), undermined the findings of the expert team that traveled to China to investigate the origins of the coronavirus. Dutch virologist Marion Koopmans, who was part of the WHO team, said this to research program Zembla. "We experienced it as: we are being thrown under the bus," she said. 

Koopmans and the WHO team spent four weeks in China earlier this year to try and identify the origin of the current coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. One of the theories looked into was that the coronavirus was made in a laboratory in the city of Wuhan. The team concluded that this theory was "extremely improbable" and did not deserve any further investigation.

In a press conference that followed, Ghebreyesus called that conclusion of the team "premature," therefore going against his own team. 

"We had a penetrating conversation," Koopmans said about that press conference. "I was quite irritated."

The investigation into the virus's origin was halted without result, even though the team already presented a list of recommendations for further research in February, Koopmans said. Politics may be the reason behind no additional steps being taken yet.

Former United States president Donald Trump persisted in calling the coronavirus the "China virus." His successor, Joe Biden, had his security services investigate the laboratory theory. China claimed the virus was actually created in the U.S.


Koopmans said she was naive to think that the WHO team would find the truth in China with such political interests swirling around the issue. "In any case, I underestimated how unbelievably the focus came on that mission. I really underestimated that. But I think it would be a terrible thing if things like this just couldn't be done anymore because of political wrangling."

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