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WHO dismisses coronavirus Wuhan lab leak theory, says White House hasn't shared any evidence to back claim

Intelligence from the US and the Five Eyes network --a collaboration between the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada -- also found no proof supporting the rising chorus against the Wuhan lab
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it had not seen any evidence linking the origins of the pandemic to a Wuhan lab, dismissing them as speculations for now.

“We have not received any data or specific evidence from the United States government relating to the purported origin of the virus – so from our perspective, this remains speculative,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said during a briefing.

Further, intelligence from the US and the Five Eyes network --a collaboration between the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada -- also found no proof supporting the rising chorus against the Wuhan lab. Despite that, the US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are holding on to their claims. Pompeo recently reportedly said, “I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.” 

Ryan added the WHO was willing to look at evidence from the US. “If that data and evidence are available, then it will be for the United States government to decide whether and when it can be shared,” he said. “But it’s difficult for WHO to operate in an information vacuum in that specific regard.”

However, all of the reports point out that China concealed the truth about the outbreak and its severity. In its 15 page dossier, the Five Eyes network said China tried to silence its critics.

(Getty Images)

No evidence linking the virus to the lab

Trump and Pompeo have not released the evidence they have yet. But some reports doing the rounds suggest that researchers from the lab were not wearing personal protective equipment. However, there is no proof to support it yet. 

The lab in question is the Wuhan Institue of Virology. According to American researchers, the Institute follows safety standards that are comparable to Western labs.

 According to the New York Times, the Trump administration applied pressure on other member countries to investigate its theory of the lab accident.

Some members of the Five Eyes have said it was imperative to find answers. "There are questions that need to be answered about the origin and spread of the virus. This will need to be done with all our international partners, including China,"  Downing Street said.

But officials from one member country, Australia, believed the virus is more likely to have a natural origin, saying that the accidental lab leak theory had only a 5 % chance of occurring. 

Some believe that China could have put many speculations to rest if it had been more open and transparent. “If their government were less secretive and authoritarian they would cooperate more and so potentially put to bed wilder ideas about the origins of the virus," Neil O’Brien, a Conservative MP and secretary of the China Research Group said that Beijing told The Guardian.

Commenting on the war of words between nations, amid a pressing crisis, WHO's Ryan said, “We need to understand that we can learn from Chinese scientists, we can learn from each other, we can exchange knowledge and we can find the answers together. If this is projected as an aggressive investigation of wrongdoing, then I believe that’s much more difficult to deal with. That’s a political issue. That is not a science issue.”