Just as the World Health Organization announced the start of the much-awaited investigation into the source of the coronavirus causing the Covid-19 disease, other scientific reports popped up to point conflicting fingers in different directions to where the pathogen may have come from.
To be clear, the conflict is not about where the virus was officially detected and identified in a human population; that place was the city of Wuhan in central China, last December. The question is not whether it “appeared” in Wuhan, but whether it “originated” in Wuhan.
The WHO team, which had its first meeting on October 30, is tasked with answering that question using 10 international specialists from the United States, Japan and other countries, working with counterparts in China.
The host for the virus is widely believed to be an animal from which the pathogen hopped to a human; finding the animal source could help science understand how it got into humans and prevent a repeat.