COVID-19 origins: SA scientist says 'no time for finger-pointing'
Published: Aug 02, 2021 11:51 PM
People receive COVID-19 vaccine in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 27, 2021.Photo: CGTN

People receive COVID-19 vaccine in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 27, 2021.Photo: CGTN

 Identifying the source of COVID-19 is instrumental in understanding what to expect in the future, but the process must be "scientifically rigorous," said South African epidemiologist Salim Abdool Karim in a recent interview with Chinese media.

Karim urged not to politicize the scientific endeavor, cautioning that "this is not a time for political posturing and finger-pointing."

"We need all those authorities, including those in China, to cooperate," he added during an interview on Chinese broadcaster Phoenix TV on July 19.

Karim is the director of the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) and was the South African government's top adviser on the pandemic having co-chaired the ministerial advisory committee on COVID-19.

Tracing the origins of the novel coronavirus needs to be done in "a transparent way so that all the different possibilities are explored, the evidence is collected and the answers are obtained," the scientist told Phoenix TV. "It's in everyone's interest to get an answer that is scientifically credible."

Since the early days of the pandemic, conspiracy theories and rumors about the origins of the virus have been swirling around.

The World Health Organization (WHO) sent an international team of scientists to central China's Wuhan City looking for the origins of COVID-19 in early 2021 and concluded that a lab leak is "extremely unlikely" to have happened.

Yet U.S. President Joe Biden still ordered the Intelligence Community to look into the possibility of a lab leak.

Though the WHO origin-tracing report said scientists should go on searching in other countries, the organization is considering going back to Wuhan for a second-phase study, which China has opposed citing possible political manipulation.

No investigation has taken place in the U.S. so far.
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