Speed Reads

COVID-19 origins

WHO official pleads for a 'depoliticized' investigation into the origins of COVID-19

The investigation into the origins of the coronavirus is being "poisoned by politics," said Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Programme, at a press briefing on Friday. 

"If you expect scientists to do their work ... and actually get the answers that you want ... we would ask that this be done in a depoliticized environment where science and health is the objective," not politics, he went on.

Ryan then frustratedly pointed to a lack of concrete and informative "evidence" in media speculation in the last few days, something he called "quite disturbing."

Ryan's comments come just days after President Biden requested the U.S. intelligence community "redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information" on the origins of COVID-19 and "report back" to the president in 90 days, breathing life back into the once-taboo notion the virus escaped a lab in China as a result of human error. As it stands, there is no clear community consensus as to where exactly the pathogen originated, although Ryan was sure to note "all hypotheses for the origin of the virus remain on the table," per ABC News.