World Health Organization (WHO) experts are preparing a proposal on the next studies to be carried out into the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19, a spokeswoman said on Friday.
The United States called on Thursday for the WHO to carry out a second phase of its investigation into the origins, with independent experts given full access to original data and samples in China. Britain made a similar appeal.
WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told a UN briefing on Friday that experts would prepare a proposal for WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, but that there was no set timeline.
Earlier this week WHO’s top emergency expert Mike Ryan said that talks with member states would continue in coming weeks.
This comes days after the Wall Street Journal broke a story saying three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) sought hospital care in November 2019, months before China disclosed the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Wall Street Journal said that the report provides fresh details on the number of researchers affected, the timing of their illnesses, and their hospital visits – may add weight to calls for a broader probe of whether the COVID-19 virus could have escaped from the laboratory.
After WHO’s previous investigation into the origins of the virus, the organization said the team wasn’t able to see any piece of evidence to confirm whether a lab leak was behind the transmission of the coronavirus.