The European Commission has called a World Health Organization-led report on coronavirus origins a “helpful first step,” but says further work is need to understand the origins of coronavirus and its transmission to humans.
“This will require further and timely access to all relevant locations and to all relevant human, animal and environmental data available, including data from the first identified COVID-19 cases and cases picked up by surveillance systems, as well as further serologic testing of blood samples,” the commission said in a statement.
“The identification of the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus will require full and transparent cooperation by all WHO Member States and a collaborative effort by scientists from various disciplines.”
The WHO released a new 120-page report on Tuesday listing four commonly discussed scenarios for the virus’ introduction to humans, dismissing two of them as unlikely. It did not give evidence to support the lab leak theory.
The statement added that a better understanding of the virus is essential to support the international response to pandemics, including equitable access to vaccines and treatments.
“Ultimately, pandemic preparedness is not only about response capacities; it is above all about how countries act when a threat arises,” the commission said.
The governments of the United States Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom jointly expressed concern about WHO's study into the origins of Covid-19 in China and called for independent and fully transparent evaluations with access to all relevant data in the future.