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      Chinese Association of Young Scientists and Technologists' letter to WHO director-general

      Updated: 2021-08-24 09:05
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      World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference in Geneva Switzerland July 3, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

                                                                                                 August 23 2021

      Respected Dr. Tedros,

      First of all, we'd like to convey our sincere greetings to you. The Chinese Association of Young Scientists and Technologists is a social organization composed of young science and technology talents, regional and industrial professional groups. The members of our association cover all fields of scientific research and technological development. On behalf of all the members, the secretariat of the association has written this letter to question the rationality and scientific nature regarding to the WHO plan for the second phase of the SARS-CoV-2 global origin tracing.

      We believe that the previously released report of joint WHO-China study of origins of SARS-CoV-2 has been prepared with the professional study and analysis of facts, carried out by the joint study team of Chinese experts and international experts from WHO and ten countries, over a 28-day period in Wuhan. It represents a rigorous scientific attitude and professional spirit, and its working process and outcome has been widely recognized by the international society and the scientific community. This report is deserved to be respected by all the parties including WHO Secretariat. China has played a vital role in promoting public health of the mankind, and any defamation would be unfair to our sincerity and selfless support.

      We believe that study of virus origins is a matter of science, and should not be affected by the political factors. Politics should not be placed above science. Any malicious speculation and irresponsible hypothesis against China that have no scientific evidence should not be mentioned, nor should a country which reported the first infection case be considered as the origin place of the virus. The insistence on the publication of the so-called origin tracing report from the intelligence agency of a handful of countries is against the science and the facts. We strongly oppose hyping up "Wuhan lab leak hypothesis" which has already been recognized as "extremely unlikely" in the WHO-China joint report.

      We believe that study of virus origins is a long-term mission, and this research should be conducted worldwide step by step. A single event in certain time and location should not be the only thing worthy of studying. More attention should be paid to the parent viruses from animals, early-stage cross-species transmission and evidence to early-stage human infection in different times and spaces. Meanwhile, the virus transmitting from natural hosts to intermediate hosts and then to the human population might occur in different places, and the virus might evolve independently in multiple places. A reliable conclusion would be drawn by the systematic research and data accumulation covering more places and longer time span. Like tracing the origins of H1N1 influenza and Ebola virus, origin tracing of SARS-CoV-2 is a complex issue that requires continuous research and at present it is far from the final conclusion.

      In face of this big challenge for all mankind, WHO has been making great efforts in promoting the international cooperation in terms of the COVID-19 response and the outcome speaks for itself. We sincerely plead with you and the members of the WHO Secretariat to continue taking the mission of "championing health and a better future for all", and respecting science, eliminating malicious interference, and to provide reasonable guidance for global pandemic response and virus origin tracing, and improving the effectiveness of pandemic prevention measures and global availability of vaccines.

      We sincerely hope that the WHO Secretariat would provide more support, encouragement and trust to medical workers and scientific researchers around the world. With your guidance, they would join their hands in promoting the international scientific cooperation and well-being of all people. All the members who work in the public health and medicine field in our association are willing to collaborate and share with their colleagues worldwide, and finally build a "Great Wall" of safeguarding human health with professional knowledge and scientific spirit.

      Finally, we wish an ultimate victory against the pandemic would come soon. We also wish you good health and all the best.

      Secretariat of

      The Chinese Association of Young Scientists and Technologists

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