WHO’s Second COVID Probe Still Lacks Transparency

In Global Advocacy, Global Featured by Fiona Ip

Amid ongoing revelations of conflicts of interest among appointees to the newest COVID-19 origins investigative panel—AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) reiterates its repeated calls for the World Health Organization (WHO) to form a truly independent team to study how the pandemic began.

The non-profit organization U.S. Right To Know (USRTK) recently submitted public comments to the WHO identifying conflicts of interest and disqualifying information for 10 candidates newly appointed to its Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO). Among the conflicts described are financial and research ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, U.S. National Institutes of Health, and EcoHealth Alliance – as well as prejudicial declarations and dismissals of COVID-19’s origins by appointees. Read USTRK’s comments in their entirety here.

“As we’ve stated numerous times, the original investigation was flawed from the start, yet WHO is repeating those same mistakes once again. We agree with USTRK’s comments regarding several of the candidates who have been selected to lead the second probe and have clear conflicts of interest–WHO should have done much better in vetting the second team,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “The world deserves the truth on how this outbreak started. That can only happen if unbiased, independent experts can produce a detailed report that holds up to scientific scrutiny. It wasn’t possible with the makeup of the original team and won’t be possible with this one unless the WHO ensures transparency by choosing impartial investigators.”

AHF has issued multiple statements on the investigation into the origins of COVID-19, including how it was politicized and marred by conflicts of interest. Most recently, AHF has urged the WHO to remove scientists from the newly appointed team who had served on the original panel which traveled to Wuhan, China, earlier this year.

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