China publishes column of international cooperation on global study on origins of SARS-CoV-2 convened by WHO: Chinese side

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Special: Battle against the new coronavirus

China on Wednesday published a column of international cooperation on the global study on the origins of SARS-CoV-2: China Part convened by the WHO.

COVID-19 is the most serious pandemic and the biggest public health emergency the world has seen in a century. The search for the origins of SARS-CoV-2 aims to identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction into the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts. The work is vitally important to carry out targeted interventions against infectious diseases and reduce the risk of similar events occurring. In order to produce a research report that can stand the test of history, an overarching principle that must be respected is to stick to the spirit of science, adopt a science-based approach and follow the law of science.

The study of the search for origins is a complex and serious scientific question. To study the origins, transmission and evolution of COVID-19, which has raged in more than 200 countries and regions, the global scientific community must work together to ensure that science, solidarity and cooperation prevail over l ignorance, isolation and prejudice.

China has its share of the work to prevent and control COVID-19. Yet he has twice invited international experts to conduct origins research studies. In a scientific, open, transparent and cooperative manner, China provided the necessary facilitation for the work of the WHO expert team in Wuhan. With a sense of responsibility and urgency, the joint WHO-China team completed the Chinese part of the Global Origins Study, giving a panoramic view of the working methods and main findings of the research study. origins and offering suggestions for the next phase of the global study. origins research work.

Based on media reports and information from the National Health Commission of China, research institutes, universities and other relevant parties, Xinhua reporters reviewed the main facts of the facilitation by the China of the research study of the origins of the joint WHO-China team in Wuhan. Here are the major facts in chronological order.

2020

◆ From July to August, the WHO and China laid the foundations for studies to better understand the origins of the virus. Terms of Reference (TOR) were agreed which defined a phased approach, and the scope of studies, main guiding principles and expected deliverables. The terms of reference called for a first phase 1 of short-term studies to better understand how the virus could have been introduced and begin to circulate in Wuhan, China.

■ On July 11, an advanced team, made up of two experts, Mr. Olivier le Polain and Dr. Peter K. Ben Embarek, arrived in China to conduct a preparatory consultation on scientific cooperation in the search for origins.

■ Between July 11 and August 2, experts from China and WHO held 16 meetings to exchange views. Chinese experts presented the results of epidemiological investigations of the first cases in Wuhan, the results of animal and environmental sample testing, data analysis of the test results of wildlife surveillance samples, the surveillance of food security, key assumptions of virus transmission routes, source of infection, and potential unknown factors of clustered early cases, among others. At the request of WHO experts, China also hosted a special video conference between WHO experts and the team of Dr Shi Zhengli from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Chinese and WHO experts have agreed on a work plan for the Chinese side of the global study convened by WHO into the origins of SARS-CoV-2.

■ On August 2, the WHO team left China after the visit.

◆ From October to December, Chinese experts and the WHO international team held four online meetings to discuss the progress of the global study of the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and the working methods of the joint study on the search for origins.



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