Plenty of classes have already been gleaned concerning the worldwide and scientific response to the novel coronavirus, however understanding rising variants stays a murky space, the professional who led the latest World Health Organization (WHO) mission to China says.
“We clearly have to invest much more in understanding how these viruses are emerging,” Peter Ben Embarek mentioned in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live.
“We also have to improve our surveillance of these emerging diseases so people [identify them] before they jump into humans. And when they emerge like last year, we shouldn’t wait too long before starting to look at the origin of these viruses.”
Those investigations ought to be taking place in tandem with preliminary responses corresponding to figuring out therapy choices and constructive circumstances, Ben Embarek advised CBC Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton.
The scientist is a meals security and animal ailments professional who was a part of a group investigating the origins of the virus in Wuhan, China, the place the primary circumstances of COVID-19 had been found.
The four-week mission concluded earlier this month, with preliminary findings suggesting that the virus was launched to people by an “intermediary host species.”
There are additionally indications that there was no widespread transmission of the novel coronavirus earlier than December 2019, although there’s proof there was “much wider transmission” through the second half of that month than beforehand thought, Ben Embarek mentioned.
What’s the technique for variants?
But one query that continues to be unanswered entails new, extra transmissible variants of the coronavirus — and whether or not the world has finished sufficient to manage them.
“I think we are dealing with them with a lot of concern and attention, and we are increasingly able to detect them,” Ben Embarek mentioned.
“The big question is, are we good enough at handling them, or are we handling them [as we did] the first one — the original one — and taking the same strategy to control them?”
Ben Embarek mentioned extra conversations are wanted about these methods to see whether or not the measures put in place to curb the unfold of COVID-19 will also be utilized to rising variants.
“I think it’s a big question, and nobody has the answers, unfortunately,” he mentioned.
The scientist mentioned he hoped the report’s findings could be taken critically, regardless of criticisms of WHO’s reward of China’s early dealing with of the outbreak.
“It’s also important for people to understand what this mission was and what it was not. It was not an investigation into any wrongdoing or … how the system in China operated from the start of this event,” Ben Embarek mentioned.
“This was a joint study between Chinese counterparts and international counterparts trying to develop and conduct studies that would help us get a better understanding of what happened. And that’s what we did.”
The WHO is predicted to current its preliminary report from the mission within the coming week.
You can watch full episodes of Rosemary Barton Live on CBC Gem, the CBC’s streaming service.