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First Covid patient, a Wuhan lab worker, may have been infected by a bat: WHO Official

Peter Ben Embarek Covid patient infected bat
Source: Pixabay

An investigator named Peter Ben Embarek believes the world’s first Covid patient may have been infected by a bat while working in the lab.

The World Health Organization dispatched a team of experts to Wuhan, China, this spring to investigate the disease’s origins. Professor Peter Ben Embarek led the team.

Covid patient zero may have been infected by bat

The head of the WHO mission investigating the origins of COVID has admitted that patient zero of the pandemic may have been a worker at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“An employee who was infected in the field by taking samples falls under one of the probable hypotheses,” he said.

Mr Embarek believes the first Covid infection occurred while collecting – or working with – bats in connection with the Wuhan research.

“This is where the virus jumps directly from a bat to a human. In that case, it would then be a laboratory worker instead of a random villager or other person who has regular contact with bats.”

“So it is actually in the probable category.”

The WHO released a report in March, in collaboration with Chinese scientists, stating that the coronavirus most likely originated in bats and spread to an intermediary animal before infecting humans.

It also dismissed a speculative theory that the virus leaked from a Chinese lab, calling it “extremely unlikely.”

However, Peter Ben Embarek told Danish Government-owned subscription television station TV 2 that experts discovered several things that should be looked into further, including how the virus’s closest known relative lives in a species of horseshoe bat that is not found near the Wuhan laboratory.

Mr Embarek also stated that the WHO expert team found it difficult to discuss the laboratory theory with the Chinese.

“In the beginning, they didn’t want anything about the lab [in the report], because it was impossible, so there was no need to waste time on that,” Ben Embarek said during the interview, the Post noted. “We insisted on including it because it was part of the whole issue about where the virus originated.”

He said, “Until 48 hours before we finished the whole mission, we still had no agreement that we would talk about the laboratory part of the report, so it was right up to the end that it was discussed whether it should be included or not.”

The report was panned due to concerns that China was not being transparent or willing to cooperate.

In August, US Republicans issued a report accusing Beijing of one of the “greatest cover-ups in human history” regarding the origins of Covid-19.

In response, China’s foreign ministry said the GOP dossier was “based on concocted lies and distorted facts without providing any evidence, is not credible or scientific”.

Four possible scenarios

Mr Embarek told TV 2 that there were four possible scenarios for how the pandemic started.

He stated that a human could have been infected directly by a bat or by a product contaminated with bat virus.

It was also suggested that a bat infected another animal, which then infected a human, or that the virus emerged directly from one of Wuhan’s laboratories.

Embarek, who initially dismissed the lab leak theory, now believes it should be investigated further.

The documentary “The Virus Mystery” is set to air on the Danish channel TV2 on Thursday evening, Washington Post reported.

About the author

Brendan Byrne

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.




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