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COVID-19 likely came from an ‘intermediary host species,’ WHO says

The World Health Organization laid out more details about where the novel coronavirus came from

Peter Ben Embarek and Thea Koelsen Fischer of the World Health Organization team prepares to board a plane from the tarmac at the airport to leave at the end of the WHO mission in Wuhan, China, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.
Peter Ben Embarek and Thea Koelsen Fischer of the World Health Organization team prepares to board a plane from the tarmac at the airport to leave at the end of the WHO mission in Wuhan, China, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.
Ng Han Guan, Associated Press

World Health Organization expert Peter Ben Embarek said Wednesday that his team has identified four different scenarios on what led COVID-19 to attack humans, according to CNN.

What are the four theories?

  1. Embarek said “an intermediary host species” likely caused the transmission, meaning some sort of animal gave it to humans, per CNN.
  2. He said there’s a chance the transmission happened through the trade of frozen products.
  3. Embarek said his team had two more ideas about where the virus came from. One focused on a “direct zoonotic spillover,” which suggests the disease transferred from an animal reservoir to a human, according to CNN.
  4. The final theory is that the virus was created in a lab, but that was the least likely of all four scenarios, he said, CNN reported.

What else does WHO know?

The World Health Organization said Tuesday that the coronavirus most likely spread from animals to humans. The organization also dismissed an alternate theory that the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China, according to The Associated Press.

The report came after WHO experts visited Wuhan — where the coronavirus was first discovered — to understand the origins of COVID-19, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • The WHO said COVID-19 could have hit other regions before Wuhan, but it went underreported, according to NBC News.