Let science have the final say in COVID-19 origin-tracing

2021-03-26 Xinhua Editor:Cheng Zizhuo

Where does the COVID-19 come from?

How did it transmit to humans?

And how did it spread across the planet?

COVID-19 has infected more than 120 million people. If there is one thing that can save humanity from the pandemic and prevent similar future outbreaks, the surest bet is science. While scientists are busy probing facts, some people in Western countries are busy politicizing the pathogen and finding scapegoats. That can be more harmful than the virus.

A WHO expert team has completed a mission of virus origin tracing in China as part of a global hunt. They have reached some conclusions that will help the public better understand the virus.

The experts pinned the first infection in China's Wuhan on Dec. 8, 2019. Is the person "Patient Zero" of the pandemic?

No one knows, because cases have actually been found in other countries at a much earlier date.

The U.S. CDC found circulation of the virus in America as early as in December 2019. Spanish researchers even detected the virus in waste water collected in March 2019.

Science, instead of politics, is the only path to truth.

The WHO experts have dismissed conspiracy theories hyped up by some Western countries. They agree that the COVID-19 virus came from a natural origin. It is "most likely" to be introduced through an intermediary host species and "likely" to be introduced through direct transmission or cold-chain products. A leak from a virology lab in Wuhan is "extremely unlikely."

Sadly, some Western politicians turned a blind eye to scientific findings.

They brushed off mounting calls for investigations in their countries, but demanded transparency from China. They messed up epidemic response, but shifted the blame to China and the WHO. They hoarded coronavirus vaccines, but slandered China's assistance to those in dire need.

Their behavior has seriously disrupted the global fight against COVID-19, including origin-tracing research, and they should stop now.

To gain a better understanding of the virus, origin-tracing research should be carried out in other parts of the world, too. For example, in the United States, the country with the most infections and deaths. And remember? There are also lots of questions yet to be answered surrounding the biolab at Fort Detrick in mid-2019.

After all, with more than 2.7 million lives already lost to the pandemic, it's high time that science was allowed to play its role across the world. And this has been a Xinhua Commentary.

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