The World Health Organization is seeking experts to join a new advisory committee formed in part to address the agency’s difficult efforts to determine how the coronavirus epidemic began. The World Health Organization is seeking experts to join a new advisory committee formed in part to address the agency’s difficult efforts to determine how the coronavirus epidemic began.
As stated in a statement issued on Friday, the World Health Organization said the new scientific committee would provide the WHO with an impartial review of the work done to identify the origins of COVID-19 and advise the agency on the next measures to be taken by the organization. As well as providing advice on key problems related to the possible development of additional viruses capable of causing epidemics, such as MERS and Ebola, the experts will also provide advice on other important topics related to MERS and Ebola.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it is looking for up to 25 officials with appropriate experience to apply for membership in its new scientific advisory committee by September 10.
In March, as reported in The Nuherald, a WHO-led panel of international specialists released a preliminary study in which they concluded that the origins of COVID-19 were “very improbable” to have been connected to a laboratory setting. In recent months, even though experts believe, it is most likely that the virus was transmitted from animals to people; the idea that a laboratory was involved has gained momentum. President Joe Biden has ordered an investigation into the potential of a laboratory connection.
Critics have criticized the WHO’s first evaluation, claiming it was a poor attempt and pointing out that all of the team members sent to China and the WHO report required permission from the Chinese government.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, admitted last month that it was “premature” to rule out the lab leak hypothesis, characterizing lab mishaps as frequent.
A Danish documentary published earlier this month revealed that the WHO’s team leader expressed worries about safety standards at a facility near where the first human COVID-19 cases were discovered in Wuhan, China – concerns that the World Health Organization had not previously reported.
Many health professionals and scientists have urged for an independent inquiry to be carried out outside of the WHO, pointing out that the organization does not have the power to force nations, including China, to cooperate with the probe.
According to the terms of reference published on Friday, the new expert group will also be subject to strict confidentiality requirements, which are similar to those in place for many of the WHO’s existing expert groups.
The guidelines state that members are not permitted to speak on behalf of the WHO or the group to any third party, those internal deliberations are to be treated as strictly confidential, and that they are not permitted to quote from or use any documents that are outside of the group’s responsibilities.
The World Health Organization will maintain complete control over any reports, including making them public.
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