The World Health Organization traveled to China to ferret out the origins of the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) January 14 – February 10.  Their 120-page report joint WHO-China report details the findings. Unfortunately, the WHO says the root cause of COVID-19 remains a mystery, and we continue to ask the same question as we did a year ago, “Is COVID’s point of origin the Wuhan Institute of Virology?”

Following the release of the report, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commented, “As far as WHO is concerned, all hypotheses remain on the table. This report is a very important beginning, but it is not the end. We have not yet found the source of the virus, and we must continue to follow the science and leave no stone unturned as we do.” That said, the joint report does suggest that the most likely means of human infection was from an animal species and not from a laboratory accident.

Following the release of the report, The U.S. and 13 other countries joined together and called China out, asking for ” a transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence, of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, we join in expressing shared concerns regarding the recent WHO-convened study in China.” On March 30, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the study lacked crucial data and information and “lacks transparency.”

The WHO-convened study on Corona Virus

The WHO-China study team consisted of 10 international members from 10 different countries, including the U.S., 17 members from China, and seven from the WHO and the World Organization for Animal Health, as well as two staff observers from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The study looked at a variety of pathways to emergence which included:

  • direct zoonotic spillover; possible-to-likely path;
  • intro thru an intermediate host: very likely;
  • thru cold/ food chain products: possible; and
  • thru lab incident: extremely unlikely.

While the intent was to drill down to the root cause of COVID-19, it was clear that China had an agenda and that did not include being totally transparent with researchers. At the end of their 120-page report, the team “called for a continued scientific and collaborative approach to be taken towards tracing the origins of COVID-19.”

China claps back re Corona Virus Origin

Predictably, China clapped back at the west, even though it is documented the laboratory was involved in “gain-of-function” experiments on the bat coronavirus which involves modifying viral genomes of lab animals which had been modified genetically, to include, infecting the animals lung cells.

Liang Wannian, who was the Chinese lead of the study group said that the joint-team had massive amounts of data to study and that “we are confident the report can stand the test of time.” The director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggested the origins of COVID-19 should not be pointed at Wuhan or even China. While the Chinese affiliated Global Times Tweeted via video how their interpretation of the report “concludes that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely” and suggests to investigate “potential early events” in different countries.”

What was missing from the multi-month study, is the lack of a “forensic probe” into the possibility that the global pandemic is rooted to a laboratory incident. Until China engages in a more transparent 360-degree review and investigation, the root cause of the global COVID-19 pandemic remains a mystery, shrouded in China’s obfuscation.

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Christopher Burgess (@burgessct) is an author and speaker on the topic of security strategy. Christopher, served 30+ years within the Central Intelligence Agency. He lived and worked in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Central Europe, and Latin America. Upon his retirement, the CIA awarded him the Career Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the highest level of career recognition. Christopher co-authored the book, “Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost, Preventing Intellectual Property Theft and Economic Espionage in the 21st Century” (Syngress, March 2008). He is the founder of