Reuters.- China declined to give raw data on the first cases of Covid-19 to the team led by World Health Organization (WHO) that investigates origins of the pandemicsaid one of the team’s researchers, which could complicate efforts to understand how the outbreak started.
The team had requested the raw data from the 174 cases of Covid-19 what China had identified from the initial phase of the outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019 as well as other cases, but only a summary was provided, said Dominic Dwyer, an Australian infectious disease expert who is a member of the team.
Read also: People vaccinated against Covid-19 can infect others, warns WHO
Raw data of this type are known as “line lists,” he said, and would normally be anonymous, but contain details such as what questions patients were asked, their responses, and how their responses were analyzed.
“It is the usual practice in the investigation of an outbreak,” he told Reuters on Saturday via a video call from Sydney, where he is currently in quarantine.
Dwyer said gaining access to the raw data was especially important, as only half of the 174 cases had exposure to the market for Huanan, the seafood wholesale center of Wuhan, now closed and where the virus.
“That is why we have insisted on asking for it,” he said. “Why doesn’t that happen? I couldn’t comment on it. Whether for political reasons, time or difficulty (…) But if there are other reasons why the data is not available, I don’t know. One could only speculate. “
It may interest you: Melbourne begins its third confinement for Covid-19 this Friday
While the Chinese authorities provided much material, the expert said the issue of access to raw patient data would be mentioned in the team’s final report. “The people of the WHO he certainly felt that he had received much more data than he had received in the previous year. So that in itself is progress. “
A summary of the team’s findings could be released as early as next week, the WHO on Friday.
Research led by the WHO has been plagued by delays, access concerns and disputes between Beijing and Washington, which accused China of concealing the scope of the initial outbreak and criticized the terms of the visit, under which the Chinese experts conducted the first phase of the investigation.
The WHO did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters. The Chinese Foreign Ministry also did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Beijing has previously championed its transparency in managing the outbreak and its cooperation.