Experts Question Whether WHO Should Lead Probe Of COVID Origins
Numerous experts, including some with strong ties to WHO, say that political tensions between the U.S. and China make any U.N.-led investigation impossible.
As the World Health Organization draws up plans for the next phase of its probe into how the coronavirus pandemic started, an increasing number of scientists say it isn’t up to the task and that the U.N. health agency shouldn’t even be the one to investigate.
Numerous experts, including some with strong ties to WHO, say that political tensions between the U.S. and China make any U.N.-led investigation impossible. They say what’s needed is a broad, independent analysis closer to what happened in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, but warn that will require a willingness by international leaders to confront China and effectively sideline WHO.
Meantime, WHO says any COVID-19 vaccines it has authorized for emergency use should be recognized by countries as they open up their borders to inoculated travelers.
Thursday's move could challenge Western countries to broaden their acceptance of two apparently less effective Chinese vaccines, which the U.N. health agency has licensed but most European and North American countries have not.
In its aim to restore travel across Europe, the European Union said in May that it would only recognize people as vaccinated if they had received shots licensed by the European Medicines Agency — although it’s up to individual countries if they wish to let in travelers who have received other vaccines.