WHO panel to probe origins of Covid-19, other pathogens

26 experts form new Scientific Advisory Group, some who served on previous Wuhan investigation

The World Health Organisation on Wednesday proposed 26 experts to form its new Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of novel pathogens, including several who served on its mission to Wuhan, China, to probe the source of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The statement named the 26 proposed members ahead of a two-week period of public consultation, including Marion Koopmans, Thea Fischer, Hung Nguyen and Chinese animal health expert Yang Yungui, who took part in the joint investigation this year.

“Understanding where new pathogens come from is essential for preventing future outbreaks with epidemic and pandemic potential, and requires a broad range of expertise. We are very pleased with the calibre of experts selected for SAGO from around the world,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

The WHO launched the request for applications last August, saying it was looking for the greatest scientific minds to advise on investigations into new high-threat pathogens that jump from animals to humans and could spark the next pandemic.

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