WHO’s Investigation Into the Origins of the Sars-CoV-2 Virus

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I was on the WHO’s Covid mission to China, here’s what we found

Dominic Dwyer via The Conversation

As I write, I am in hotel quarantine in Sydney, after returning from Wuhan, China. There, I was the Australian representative on the international World Health Organization’s (WHO) investigation into the origins of the Sars-CoV-2 virus.

Much has been said of the politics surrounding the mission to investigate the viral origins of Covid-19. So it’s easy to forget that behind these investigations are real people.



As part of the mission, we met the man who, on 8 December 2019, was the first confirmed Covid-19 case; he’s since recovered. We met the husband of a doctor who died of Covid-19 and left behind a young child. We met the doctors who worked in the Wuhan hospitals treating those early Covid-19 cases, and learned what happened to them and their colleagues. We witnessed the impact of Covid-19 on many individuals and communities, affected so early in the pandemic, when we didn’t know much about the virus, how it spreads, how to treat Covid-19, or its impacts.

We talked to our Chinese counterparts – scientists, epidemiologists, doctors – over the four weeks the WHO mission was in China. We were in meetings with them for up to 15 hours a day, so we became colleagues, even friends. This allowed us to build respect and trust in a way you couldn’t necessarily do via Zoom or email.

This is what we learned about the origins of SARS-CoV-2.

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