The World Health Organization has said that its latest investigation into the origins of COVID-19 was inconclusive, largely because data from China is missing.
The report from the WHO expert panel said all available data showed the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 probably came from animals, likely bats, a similar conclusion to the UN agency’s previous work on the topic in 2021 that followed a trip to China.
The missing data, especially from China, where the first cases were reported in December 2019, meant it was not possible to identify exactly how the virus was first transmitted to humans. The findings are likely to add to doubts whether it will be possible to determine how and where the virus emerged.
Scientists say it is important to establish the origins of the pandemic, which has killed at least 15 million people to prevent similar outbreaks in future.