WHO: COVID origins unclear but lab leak theory needs study

GENEVA (AP) – The World Health Organization is recommending in its strongest terms yet that a deeper probe is required into whether a lab accident may be to blame for the COVID-19 pandemic.

This marks a sharp reversal of the U.N. health agency’s initial assessment of the pandemic’s origins.

It also comes more than two years after coronavirus emerged in China and after at least 6.3 million deaths have been counted from the pandemic worldwide.

The WHO concluded last year that it was “extremely unlikely” COVID-19 might have spilled into humans from a lab. But in a report released Thursday, WHO’s expert group says “key pieces of data” to help scientists understand how the pandemic began are still missing.