A team of investigators with the World Health Organization on Wednesday visited the bio research lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan where the coronavirus was first detected in late-2019.
China officials said early in the pandemic that the virus started when a woman ate a bat she bought from a delicacy “wet” market in Wuhan, a city or roughly 11 million. However, speculation remains about whether the virus leaked from the lab, a scenario that the ruling Chinese Communist Party has rejected.
The team’s visit to the Wuhan Institute of Virology is a part of their overall trip to China to gather data and search for answers about where the sometimes deadly virus originated and how it originally began to spread.
Members of the research crew said they intended to meet with institute leaders and press them on critical issues pertaining to the virus’s origins.
“We’re looking forward to meeting with all the key people here and asking all the important questions that need to be asked,” said Peter Daszak, a zoologist and member of the research team.
Thus far, there have been few details shared with the press about the discussions occurring between team members and pertinent officials at the institute.
Last week, the team exited two weeks in quarantine to officially begin their fact finding mission.
The the group is comprised of experts across multiple scientific fields, including top practitioners of veterinary medicine, virology, food safety and epidemiology. Team members reportedly are from 10 countries including the United States and over the past several days have visited hospitals, research institutes and the wet market initially linked to the outbreak of the virus.
Confirmation of the virus’s origins will likely take years to discover and prove. The team is also under strict guideline and restrictions by Chinese government, which could limit their finding. For months, the WHO team negotiated with the Chinese Communist Party over what would be the necessary access to fulfill its fact-finding mission.