WHO Team Investigating Pandemic’s Origins Must Have Better Access, Officials and Scientists Say

Francis Collins

The next phase of the World Health Organization (WHO) investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic must be more scientific and data-driven, a group of scientists wrote in an open letter to the WHO on Friday.

China should not be permitted to veto the team members chosen for the next WHO-led investigation and the team should be granted full access to related data such as medical records and biological samples, signers of the letter wrote.

The letter is authored by various international scientists and academics and co-organized by Jamie Metzl, a WHO advisor and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank.

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US Grant to Wuhan Lab to Enhance Bat-Based Coronaviruses Was Never Scrutinized by HHS Review Board, NIH Says

An oversight board created to scrutinize research that would enhance highly dangerous pathogens did not review a National Institutes of Health grant that funded a lab in Wuhan, China, to genetically modify bat-based coronaviruses.

Experts say the NIH grant describes scientists conducting gain-of-function research, a risky area of study that, in this case, made SARS-like viruses even more contagious. Federal funding for gain-of-function research was temporarily suspended in 2014 due to widespread scientific concerns it risked leaking supercharged viruses into the human population.

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