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Covid-19: New WHO group to look into pandemic origins is dogged by alleged conflicts of interest
The BMJ  (IF39.89),  Pub Date : 2021-10-22, DOI: 10.1136/bmj.n2588
Paul D Thacker

The World Health Organization has chosen 26 scientists from 700 applicants for a new group to investigate the origins of the covid-19 pandemic, as well as future outbreaks. WHO plans to appoint members to the new Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) after a two week review to gather public opinion on the proposed choices, which ends on 27 October.1 Seven of the current choices (box 1) were part of the WHO international team that travelled to China earlier this year to study the origins of SARS-CoV-2 with Chinese researchers. The team’s resulting report downplayed the possibility of a laboratory incident,2 and investigators faced complaints about conflicts of interest. Led by the US, several countries, including Australia, Japan, Canada, and the UK, called for a “transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence.”3 Box 1 ### Proposed SAGO members who were part of WHO’s team that met in Wuhan earlier this year to study the origins of SARS-CoV-2 with Chinese researchersRETURN TO TEXT