UPDATED 7:57 PM PT – Wednesday, October 13, 2021
The World Health Organization declared the formation of a committee to investigate into the origins of COVID-19. WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the committee on Wednesday while in Geneva, Switzerland.
As Tedros delved into the selection process for the committee, he said “the 26 experts were selected from over 700 applications and were chosen for their world class expertise and experience in a range of disciplines, as well as their geographic and gender diversity.”
The Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogen (SAGO) was placed in charge of leading the WHO’s efforts in researching how the novel coronavirus developed. The organization’s COVID-19 technical lead, Dr. Mariva Van Kerkhove, elaborated on the group’s exact role during their press conference.
“I want to make it very clear that the SAGO is not the next mission team. There’s been some misrepresentation about that going forward. It’s an advisory group to WHO. Of course, they’re going to make recommendations on missions that will be needed,” said Van Kerkhove. “And also remember that the SAGO is not just for the current pandemic, but for future pandemics or future outbreaks, future emergencies as well.”
🧵Coming back to @WHO announcement today about the proposed members of the new SAGO…
This announcement feels almost like a new starting point or new check point in an amazingly long marathon that we have been running at a full sprint…
But of course it’s not the beginning… https://t.co/Ve6mvRHgeA
— Maria Van Kerkhove (@mvankerkhove) October 13, 2021
Although the virus first appeared almost two years ago, Executive Director of the Health Emergencies Program, Dr. Michael Ryan, stressed the urgency to perform the operation now.
Many have speculated China may have been the birthplace of COVID-19, as the first recorded infections occurred in the Wuhan province. While the WHO has called lab-related origins of the virus “very unlikely,” Dr. Van Kerkhove noted many of SAGO’s future operations would take place in the authoritarian state.