China Studies Blood Bank Samples for COVID-19 Origins Probe

Tens of thousands of blood bank samples from the city of Wuhan are being tested as part of an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

  • China Studies Blood Bank Samples for COVID-19 Origins Probe
    Wuhan declared the world's first coronavirus outbreak in late December 2019

As part of the inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus, China will examine hundreds of samples from the Wuhan Blood Center, including those housed there since 2019, a Chinese official reported. 

The blood bank holds up to 200,000 samples, including those collected in the latter months of 2019.

According to the broadcaster, an expert panel from the World Health Organization (WHO) ruled in early 2021 that the samples may be a useful source of data regarding the virus' origins.

The tissue samples were kept in the blood bank for the mandatory two-year storage period before being used as evidence during investigations. Chinese experts are making preparations to test samples dating back to October-November 2019, as the mandatory term will soon expire, as reported by Chinese officials.

Wuhan declared the world's first coronavirus outbreak in late December 2019. 

The United States and several other countries have blamed the outbreak on the Chinese government, claiming that the virus was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a governmental lab. However, Beijing has always refuted the allegations.

The WHO released the first report of its fact-finding expedition to China in March, which failed to pinpoint the exact source of the virus, but found that transmission from bats to humans is the most likely scenario, whereas a leak from a state laboratory in Wuhan is extremely doubtful.