Political issues have no place in researching the emergence of new viruses, and taking politics into account is counterproductive and will hinder scientific research, a Russian expert has said.
Vladimir Dedkov, deputy director for scientific work of the Pasteur Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, made the remarks in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Dedkov participated in a 28-day global virological study in Wuhan, China, as an expert from Russia in the World Health Organization international expert group from Jan. 14 to Feb. 10.
After visiting the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Russian expert said that all of its work is carried out in full compliance with existing biosafety standards.
Besides, the analysis of the dynamics of COVID-19 cases in December 2019 revealed no signs that they were associated with the Institute, he said.
If the hypothesis of the artificial origin of COVID-19 is to be checked, then it is necessary to check all laboratories working with viruses of this type, not only in China, but also in other countries, Dedkov said.
The Russian expert said that politicizing this topic is purely counterproductive. He wanted other experts to work together to find the cause of the epidemic instead of blaming China without proof.
Dedkov noted that scientists have yet to find "patient zero." To find the answers, it is necessary to conduct a large-scale study of the spread of COVID-19 in neighboring countries and study biological samples collected outside of China before the pandemic.
The research on tracking the emergence of COVID-19, he said, should be continued to ensure the collective security of the population.
It is very important to study the diversity of viruses in nature, he said, adding that the work on this topic is currently being carried out by independent scientific teams in different countries, and it can help prevent biological threats that humanity will face in the future.
It is important that such studies be carried out without political overtones, he stressed. Only scientists who rely on international cooperation can clarify the question of the origin of new viruses.