A member of the team of W.H.O. COVID-19 investigators has been found to be an advisor for the Chinese Communist Party's Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The recent investigation of the World Health Organization's (W.H.O.) team of experts into the origins of COVID-19 is fraught with controversy. The politicization of such an investigation has led many to question its investigative processes and results, which was closely watched by Chinese authorities. It was later revealed that it was "highly unlikely" that the 2019 coronavirus outbreak began in a Wuhan virology lab. That's what lead W.H.O. COVID-19 investigator Dr. Peter Ben Embarek concluded during a press conference, as per UN News.
However, many are still skeptical about the results of the investigation into the origins of COVID-19 in China. The investigation is key in providing more insight on where and how the coronavirus began spreading to humans, so researchers can develop better and more effective vaccines and other preventive medicine. However, it was recently reported that not only were the W.H.O. COVID-19 investigators closely watched during the weeks of their visits to Wuhan, China, the investigation itself was mostly carried out by Chinese authorities and investigators and not the W.H.O. team.
Not only was the team of W.H.O. COVID-19 investigators limited by the guidelines that they had to follow on Chinese jurisdiction, but one of their own was actually a Chinese CDC advisor. The National Pulse reported that Marion Koopmans, who was on the mission to China to uncover the origins of the coronavirus, has in fact served as "member of the scientific advisory board of the Centres for Disease Control of Guangdong China."
One of the most recent published works of W.H.O. COVID-19 investigator Marion Koopmans included a July 2020 study titled "Exploring utility of genomic epidemiology to trace origins of highly pathogenic influenza A/H7N9 in Guangdong," which was made possible through grants provided by the National Key Research and Development Program of China, as well as the National Key Research and Development Program of China.
As a researcher, Koopmans appears to be qualified in investigating viruses, as she also authored a 2017 study on the Zika virus, which was funded through grants from the previously mentioned organizations. Back in 2014, Koopmans, together with the Guangdong Provincial CDC researchers, collaborated on an InfluenzaA(H7N9) study supported by the Chinese Ministry of Public Health. She also authored several other studies funded by the state-run China Scholarship Council, which delved into the Norovirus, Rotavirus, and more.
Meanwhile during a press conference, Koopmans and Embarek "praised China's cooperation during the 4-week investigation," Science Mag reported. Some journalists and scientists, however, remain critical of the W.H.O. COVID-19 investigators and their immediate dismissal of the Wuhan lab accident theory. Embarek stood by his previous statement that it was "highly unlikely" that the coronavirus started in the Wuhan laboratory and said that it was a "big achievement" to have come to that conclusion following their visit.
Embarek insisted, "What we saw and discussed gave us much more confidence in our assessment. The consensus was that this is an unlikely scenario."