World Health Organization scientists and experts are scheduled to travel to China this weekend to investigate the origins of the novel coronavirus, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced on Tuesday.
"Over the past few months, there has been a lot of discussion about the origins of Covid-19. All preparations have been finalized and WHO experts will be traveling to China this weekend to prepare scientific plans with their Chinese counterparts for identifying the zoonotic source of the disease," Tedros said during a briefing in Geneva.
"The experts will develop the scope and terms of reference for a WHO-led international mission. The mission objective is to advance the understanding of animal hosts for Covid-19 and ascertain how the disease jumped between animals and humans," Tedros said. "WHO will continue to communicate the latest scientific advances to the media and general public as we have them."
Specifically, experts will be seeking to trace the narrative of how the coronavirus might have spread from the wild to possibly farm animals to humans, said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Program.
"It takes time," he said on Tuesday.
"There is the wild animal kingdom, there is the farmed animal kingdom, there are interfaces with humans," Ryan said. "So we need to understand the track of this virus."