WHO team visits Wuhan hospital where ‘first’ Covid patient was treated

WHO investigators visited a second hospital in Wuhan (Photo: AP/AFP).

A World Health Organization (WHO) research team studying the origins of the Covida 19 pandemic has visited a second hospital in Wuhan where the first patients were treated.

Jinyatan Hospital was one of the first hospitals in the city to treat patients, and doctors collected samples from people suffering from the then-unknown virus in late 2019.

It is considered an important part of the epidemiological history of the disease.

On Friday, the team had its first face-to-face meetings with Chinese scientists. Experts in animal health, virology, food safety and epidemiology then traveled to another outbreak site, the Hubei Integrated Hospital of Chinese and Western Medicine.

said team member Peter Daszak on Twitter : An important opportunity to speak directly to the health workers who were on the ground at this critical time in the fight against VIDOC!

added his colleague Marion Koopmans: I have just returned from a hospital in Jinintang that specializes in infectious diseases and was responsible for treating the first cases in Wuhan. The stories are very similar to what I have heard from our ICU doctors.

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The WHO said its team plans to visit hospitals, markets, including the Juanani fish market, which has been linked to many of the first cases, and the Institute of Virology of the city of San Jose. Wuhan, as well as laboratories in facilities such as the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a tweet last Thursday, the organization said all hypotheses are on the table as the team follows science in its work to understand the origin of the Covid 19 virus.

It also added that the team had already requested detailed baseline data and planned to interview first responders and some of the first patients.

Security personnel guard the entrance to Wuhan Jinyintang Hospital (Photo: AP)

Security forces clear the way for the WHO convoy (Photo: CP)

The expedition has become politically partisan as China seeks to avoid accusations of alleged mistakes in the early stages of its response to the epidemic.

A visit by scientists is unlikely to confirm the origin of the virus.

Eradicating the animal reservoir of an outbreak is usually a laborious undertaking that requires years of research, including animal sampling, genetic analysis, and epidemiological studies.

Marion Koopmans (center right) and other members of the WHO team leave Wuhan Jinyintang hospital (Photo: AFP via Getty)

One possibility is that the poacher transmitted the virus to the traders who brought it to Wuhan.

The Chinese government has put forward theories, unsupported by evidence, that the outbreak could have been caused by imported frozen seafood contaminated with the virus.

One potential target for researchers is the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which created an archive of genetic information on bat coronaviruses after the 2003 outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

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